每日跟讀#747: Scientists Now on Staff
Carmen Soto is a research scientist, with a master’s degree in ecology and natural resources from the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Cuzco, Peru. In 1999, while writing her thesis on the “biological control for the potato moth and virus translocation in potatoes,” she met José Koechlin, the founder and chief executive of Inkaterra Hotels in Peru. He wanted to figure out how to control the wood weevil and moth, both of which had been attacking the eucalyptus beams and other wood used in building Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. He offered Soto a full-time job to help him.
Within a year, Soto was the resident biologist and orchid specialist at that hotel and at Inkaterra Asociación, the company’s nonprofit organization. Since then, she and her team of nearly a dozen workers have helped identify 372 orchid species, 22 of which are new. While continuing to identify new species of birds, butterflies and flora in the cloud forest, she also organizes specialized excursions for guests and educational workshops for area schoolchildren.
Eco-tourism has been a buzzword in the travel industry for some time now, with more and more hotels giving guests the option to reuse their sheets or to forgo housekeeping entirely in an effort to “protect the environment”. But some hotels, lodges and resorts have taken similar steps as Inkaterra, hiring scientists to conduct serious academic inquiry while also offering nature tours, workshops and classes for guests.
Hotel owners and managers say their ecological efforts trump any financial hits they may take.
“Inkaterra has always had a very important global commitment to sustainability,” said Claire Andre, the research and development manager at Inkaterra Hotels. “If taken separately it may not be economically profitable”
Two years ago, Mashpi Lodge, perched at 3,117 feet and about a 3 1/2-hour drive from Quito, Ecuador, opened a research lab on its premises. The laboratory is accessible to guests as well as international students working on their dissertations.
The lab is the creation of Carlos Morochz, who was hired two years before the lodge opened specifically “to conduct a thorough scientific study to fully understand the ecosystems within the reserve and gather as much information as possible about the plant and wildlife of the cloud and rainforests,” said Mashpi’s founder, Roque Sevilla. Today, Mashpi has 12 biologists on staff, and seven studies have been published about the frogs, flowers, butterflies and birds found there.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/347420/web/
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