by Erika Drazen, 2015 TRI Fellow in Sri Lanka
I set out this summer on a nearly impossible task: to trace the invisible. My research started back in October when I attended a conference called “Regional Dialogue on Women’s Inclusion in Landscape Management” led by an organization called Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN). I had read about the new discipline of Collaborative Event Ethnography, and thought that this approach should go beyond analyzing the conference itself and include the results and outcomes of the event.
As the graduate school experience of attending conferences became familiar, I began to question their larger benefits. What were the benefits? Were they worth the cost in time, money, and carbon footprint? To answer these questions, I…
By Elizabeth Tokarz, 2015 TRI Fellow in Ecuador
How I came to be Heli Eli. (Note. In Spanish, the “H” is silent, making the pronunciation of the nickname ellie-ellie.)
It all started when I was looking for an herbaceous species to survey this summer. Yasuní National Park in Orellana, Ecuador is one of the sites of a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute plot, monitored with a tree census every five or so years. However, as comprehensive as this census is, hundreds of plant species are overlooked, notably herbaceous species. Though I was originally vying for the nickname “Herbaceous Eli,” I opted to zero in on the Heliconia genus to make the census more realistic, considering I planned to head the project myself. The Heliconia species not only display beautiful…
By Nina Horstman, 2015 TRI Fellow in Indonesia
It is July in East Kalimantan and the merica (Piper nigrum) harvest has begun. White peppercorns are heaped onto mats to dry in the sunshine, their spicy, dusty scent filling the air. July also brings Ramadan to Indonesia, the holy month of fasting in the world’s most populous Islamic nation. The pace of daily life has turned sluggish, as villagers wait in the dim shade of their homes until the muezzin’s plangent cry signals that they can break their fast. This slack in farming activity has, in fact, proved advantageous for my research; it means that more people are in their homes during the day, willing to welcome me to chat or be interviewed.