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This workshop will be an interactive guided discussion to find points of commonality and diversity in our value systems within conservation, and how to work together to move away from helicopter science, and to build stronger international collaborations.

Conservation often lauds itself as a “value-driven” field; and though we may feel united in caring for this planet we call home, are we actually able to articulate specifically what those values are? Moreover, who is to say that we globally carry the exact same values when it comes to conservation, and are we, as agents of our field, upholding ourselves to what conservation requires of us? When we meet with our international collaborators, we are often met with cultural differences which can feel difficult when under the pressures of the research industry. This divide can be made worse with the power dynamics that come with researchers from higher-income/more privileged settings carrying out work in lower-income/resource-poor settings with little to no involvement of local communities or researchers. How are we expected to reconcile our differences if we do not give each other the space to do so? In this workshop, our goal is to provide such a space to not only find common ground with each other but to also bring our attention to our differences so that we can be mindful of them as we step away from such power imbalances in research and, together, move towards true collaboration. Our objectives include:

Understanding what helicopter or parachute science is, and the factors that are feeding into it.

Articulating what our individual values are within conservation and exploring how they compare with our peers.

Articulating what diversity means to us as individuals along with its characteristics and exploring how they compare with our peers.


Lecture (20 minutes): Defining helicopter or parachute science and the proposed principles to improve international collaborations.

Breakout guided session (40 minutes): The group will be divided into different regions (i.e., global north and global south) discussing three questions: (1) What are your values in conservation?, (2) What are the characteristics that make up diversity for you? What are the groups of people are lacking representation in tropical ecology in your region? and (3) Do you feel that tropical ecology and conservation is safe space for all genders?

Mixed groups session (40 minutes): Combining groups to discuss the same questions, will allow finding a common ground to improve collaboration with local partners.

Final remarks (20 minutes): Participants will be asked: What measures can ATBC take to improve inclusion and dispersal of science in the tropics and opportunities in your region?


Improving Collaboration with Local Partners: Finding Common Ground While Stepping Away from Helicopter Science

4th July 2023. 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (8)

Sumita Chatterjee (Independent professional), Vinita Gowda (IISER Bhopal), Claudia Garnica-Díaz, Louis Santiago, Priyanka Hari Haran, Lucia Lohman

Open to all



Maximum number of participants



Improving Collaboration with Local Partners: Finding Common Ground While Stepping Away from Helicopter Science
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