A not-that-brief introduction
It is very nice to meet you! My name is Irene, and I am a third-year PhD student in Biological Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States. I was previously trained as a biologist in my hometown, Barcelona, Spain, and in Quito, Ecuador. It was back home where I cultivated my passion for wildlife and conservation, but it was in Ecuador where I met my passion for primate conservation. My interest in Neotropical primates made me, paradoxically, travel very far from the tropics to pursue my PhD in primate behavior and conservation.
And so here I am, in Madison, Wisconsin, where I found myself very often dreaming about going back to the rainforest! I spent a considerable chunk of my time in Ecuador in the Amazon and in the Chocó (both sides of the Andes) following monkeys through the forest from dawn to dusk. I had the opportunity to be a member of different research and conservation teams and to work with local people, and so to learn about the importance of community-based conservation and project management. My first real, hands-on project management experience came (perhaps a year) later when I went back to Ecuador for the pilot field season of my PhD project on spider monkeys. I was absolutely not prepared to face the endless challenges of managing a project in a very remote and isolated area, with minimum budget, and not-quite-supporting local people (not finding the monkeys was the least of our worries 🐒🌳). That experience left me with the desire to do a better job, learn project management and conservation skills, and pursue a career in conservation. This is the reason I am doing this training workshop right now!
And despite my rainforest dreams, I am enjoying the woods here in the United States very much! I try to spend most of my free time outside in nature, from trail running to bike camping (Beth, gravel bike riding is truly wonderful 🚴♀️). More recently I have been enjoying new hobbies such as skiing and snowshoeing - winter camping coming soon. I would love to take any advice on winter camping if you happen to have some!
Thanks for stopping by and reading! Looking forward to meeting you soon!