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Mongabay discusses technology’s role in conservation at Seattle event [VIDEO]

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took this image of southern Scandinavia lit up at night. Image courtesy of NASA.

  • A team from Mongabay discussed new applications of technology for conservation with representatives of Seattle Audubon and Acate Amazon Conservation during an event at Seattle Central College, Washington.
  • In this video recording, the panelists discuss topics ranging from bioacoustics to remote sensing and AI and answer questions from the audience.

Last month, Seattle Audubon hosted a panel discussion featuring Mongabay staff and colleagues about the ever-growing applications of technology for conservation.

Mongabay Founder and CEO Rhett A. Butler moderated the event. He was joined by Mongabay Wildtech editor Suzanne Palminteri, plus board member Christopher Herndon, who co-founded the conservation group Acaté Amazon Conservation, which uses a range of technology for its projects supporting the Matsés indigenous community in Peru.

They were joined onstage by Seattle Audubon’s Dr. Megan Friesen, a bioacoustics researcher and recent guest on Mongabay’s podcast where she discussed her work discovering the breeding behavior of secretive seabirds.

Following a discussion of the many ways the panelists see technology being applied to conservation these days, from drones to remote sensing, GPS and artificial intelligence, the group then answered questions from a crowd of around 50 attendees, including these:

Here’s the full event recording:


Moderator and speaker bios:

Rhett Butler founded in 1999 out of his passion for nature and wildlife. For the first ten years of the project, he operated Mongabay on his own, publishing thousands of stories and tens of thousands of photos. In 2012, he launched Mongabay as a non-profit and today serves as editor-in-chief and CEO.

Dr. Suzanne Palminteri is the founding editor of Mongabay’s Wildtech section and has written or edited over 250 tech stories. Trained as a conservation biologist, Sue has studied the ecology of mammal and bird species in tropical forests of Central and South America so has a personal appreciation for how technology can aid fieldwork.

Christopher Herndon, MD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and co-founder and president of Acaté Amazon Conservation, a non-profit that works directly with the Matsés indigenous people in the remote frontier of the Peruvian Amazon to maintain their self-sufficiency and independence as they adapt to the outside world. With the support of Acaté, the Matsés people have used technology both to map for the first time their ancestral territory and to document their traditional healing and plant knowledge.

Dr. Megan Friesen is Seattle Audubon’s Conservation Manager. She is a behavioral ecologist and her research has focused on seabird senses, conservation, island and marine biology. Dr. Friesen discussed her bioacoustics work on Buller’s shearwaters on a recent episode of the Mongabay Newscast (beginning at minute 5), listen here:


Mongabay thanks Seattle Audubon for hosting this event.

Banner image courtesy of NASA.

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