New & Noteworthy



Archive for September, 2017

29 Sep 2017

Joint Letter from NSC Alliance and SPNHC

The presidents of the Natural Science Collections Alliance and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections sent a joint letter to the director of Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi in Brazil. The museum is facing large budget cuts.

An excerpt of the letter follows.

“The international links between institutions are strong and increasingly important as we help society and governments address challenges related to food security, emerging zoonotic pathogens and public health, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, invasive pests and other serious issues.

Worldwide, natural history museums are experiencing renewed interest and vitality, so it is disturbing to learn that a world-renowned institution, such as the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi is seeing such a dramatic loss of financial support. The specimens and associated data held in your collections are irreplaceable and critically important to research into changing environmental conditions and the natural history of an extraordinarily biologically diverse region of our planet.”

Read the full letter.

19 Sep 2017

Brazilian Museum Faces Closure in Wake of Large Budget Cuts

A Brazilian museum is facing major budget cuts. The Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi has closed its Amazon biodiversity research unit and zoological park. Its scientific collections are also threatened.

The museum’s director sent out an open letter to the world. A translation of part of the letter follows.

“[I]n view of the situation as it passes the Goeldi Museum in relation to the cuts promoted by the Ministry of Planning, Planning and Management (MPOG) in the year 2017, and the current budget forecast (PLOA) of 2018, and my obligation as a director of the longest-running public research institute in Amazonia, the third Brazil, [I must] inform the public that:

  1. we have in the Annual Budget Law (LOA) of 2017, an approved approximately R$12,700,000.00, of which we had a cut (contingency) of 44%, totaling an amount of resources of the order of R$7,100,000.00 to be used in 2017;
  2. Since 2015, I have been implementing a policy of spending cuts, especially with outsourcing expenses, and thereby ’saving’ the budget of the Goeldi Museum to be able to close both the 2015 and 2016 exercises;
  3. In 2017, we arrived with a table of expenses, mainly of security, cleaning and (maintenance of nurseries, gardeners, electricians, caretakers, etc.) to the maintenance of the Goeldi Museum in absolutely minimal condition;
  4. In the first eight months of 2017, the Goeldi Museum has used approximately R $5.6 million;
  5. The total fixed expenses of the Goeldi Museum (including third-party maintenance and cleaning, energy, telephone, consumables, etc.) to the last 4 months of the year 2017, are approximately R$ 3.7 million;
  6. Thus, the Museum is deficient in R$ 3.7 million to be able to honor its contracts without requiring further cuts.”

“Therefore, please publicize this note, and help raise the awareness of the government and to achieve success in the 2014 in 2018, so that we can continue to conduct our research, disclose knowledge of excellence, help decision-makers achieve good public policies to the Amazon, and to move the development of a state rich in biodiversity and biodiversity, inhabited by a happy and caring people.”

19 Sep 2017

Deadline Approaching for Digitization RFPs

The National Science Foundation is currently accepting grant proposals for the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program.

This program seeks to enhance and expand the national resource of digital data documenting existing vouchered biological and paleontological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States.

Proposals are due by October 13, 2017. Learn more at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15576/nsf15576.htm.

06 Sep 2017

National Fossil Day is October 11

The National Park Service is planning for the annual celebration of National Fossil Day, which will take place on October 11, 2017. National Fossil Day is a nationwide celebration that will include paleontology activities planned by partner organizations across the United States.

NSC Alliance has once again partnered with the National Park Service to promote the event. NSCA also has a short document about the scientific value of fossil collections.

The participation of local museums, universities, and other scientific organizations is central to National Fossil Day. Help your local community learn about local paleontological and natural resources by participating in the event.

To join as a partner for National Fossil Day, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/events.htm.