Early in 2006 the Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University (ASU), contacted the SNU Biology Department to invite QERC to join a interdisciplinary project on the “Study and Preservation of the Resplendent Quetzal.”
The goal was to bring together researchers in art, culture and science in a project which would include a web site (http://quetzal.asu.edu/Quetzal/home.html), book, DVD Video and some courses. By March of 2008 the First International Meeting for the Study and Preservation of the Resplendent Quetzal was organized with meeting components throughout Central America. QERC hosted a meeting with language experts, photographers, artists, and scientists from North and Central America.
April of 2010, QERC hosted a second conference, a portion of the 2010 International Quetzal Jubilee, marking the bicentennial of Latin American independence. The Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus Mocinno) has been an important symbol in Latin American independence because of this bird’s tie to the ancient Mesoamerican world, a symbol of freedom for thousands of years, a icon for the Republic of Guatemala, and the environmental conservation efforts protecting this beautiful bird. April 7th, David Hille made a presentation at the University of Costa Rica about the research and education taking place at QERC. The conference moved to QERC on the 10th to hear from presenters such as Dr. Leo Finkenbinder, founder and former Director of QERC; Dr. Maarten Kappelle, Director, The Nature Conservancy for MesoAmerican and Caribbean Region; and Don Arsenio Arguero, Director of the Los Quetzales National Park. Prior to the meetings in Costa Rica, some participants met in Antigua, Guatemala, at the 2010 Maya Meetings, and following the time at QERC, an additional meeting in Chiriqui Province, Panama. The meetings also made available a new Resplendent Quetzal DVD with scientific, eco-tourism, and cultural topics of interests.
The Jubilee truly did have the feel of a celebration as many members of the San Gerardo de Dota community joined international students and scholars to discuss Quetzal conservation.