Juara Foundation president Ethan Shirley spent nearly all of 2016 in the Pantanal, supported by a Fulbright research grant to study fishing law compliance. From Ethan, “The frequency of noncompliance with fishing rules varies with degree of trust in biologists who wrote the rules. That means that in order to effectively protect the Pantanal, there needs to be more interaction between scientists and locals.” To bridge this gap, Juara often brings biologists and conservation science lessons into schools throughout the region, and on several occasions has organized school field trips out to our field site, the Pantanal Center for Education and Research, where students can see the Pantanal and the people who study it up close.
The Pantanal Center for Education and Research (PCER) is a field station situated in the Jaguar Ecological Reserve. PCER was built by students of the University of Michigan Student Organization Pantanal Partnership originally as a possible site for a school as well as a testing site for sustainable technology and an educational site for locals and foreign researchers. It has been the site of over 10 study abroad programs from Stanford University and the University of Michigan, and has hosted three school field trips as well as research projects focusing on the Pantanal involving students and researchers from Brazil and abroad. The technologies tested include solar panels, biodigesters, and bio-sand water filters, and these technologies after testing have also been introduced to local rural communities through various projects by the Pantanal Partnership and by other organizations.