Baumann Awarded Earthwatch Fellowship

By Christine Baumann

NEWBURGH – Newburgh Free Academy P-TECH teacher, Christine Baumann, has been awarded an Earthwatch fellowship and will spend the beginning of her summer assisting Dr. Manoel Muanis in the Atlantic Forest, engaging in reforestation efforts and monitoring over sixty mammal species including southern wooly spider monkeys, pumas, tapirs and capybaras. Her work will be funded by Earthwatch, an organization committed to increasing collaborative science and community engagement in order to safeguard critical habitats, conserve biodiversity, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources. Along with her colleagues Jacqueline Hesse and Kevin Rothman, Ms. Baumann has taken over 40 Newburgh Free Academy students to countries such as Ecuador, Thailand, and Cambodia to volunteer, and it is her hope that this experience will pave the way for a future volunteer trip with students in partnership with the Earthwatch organization.

Students in the Newburgh Free Academy P-TECH program regularly partner with organizations such as Scenic Hudson and the Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) to learn about the interconnectivity of human actions and the natural environment.

As a direct result of deforestation, the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range of Rio de Janeiro State has experienced a severe decline in biodiversity, and only 15 percent of the original forest currently remains. Dr. Muanis’ work supplements the large-scale reforestation efforts in the region and Ms. Baumann is excited to share what she learns with her students upon her return.

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