Preliminary Research Trip to Guyana

Notice: There has been a major update to my campaign. I am no longer going to Guyana this summer, but Belize. I am still performing a similar type of scouting trip, but it is taking place in a different country. There is a possibility that my master's research will also occur in Belize. Please read the latest update for more information. 

Hello everyone. My name is Josh, and I have an opportunity to study people’s beliefs about jaguars in Guyana, but I cannot do it without you. I need your help to fund a scouting trip this summer.

I am a Master’s student in Humboldt State University’s Environment and Community program, which you can read about here. I have long been fascinated by wild animals, and have wanted to contribute to their conservation in a meaningful way. But my greatest skills lie in working with people, which first led me to pursue a career in Counseling. However, I never gave up on my passion for wildlife. Therefore I have come to Humboldt State in order to combine my training in social sciences with my desire to benefit animals. I now have the chance to pursue a master’s project that will be the perfect culmination of my life experiences.

I have an opprotunity to live in the Rupununi region of Guyana during 2018: studying local peoples’ beliefs about jaguars. This will have multiple benefits. Conversations with researchers on the ground have revealed that cultural and spiritual beliefs about jaguars might help determine how much people tolerate them. Accounts of conflicts with big cats appear to be increasing in Guyana (J. Persaud, personal communication, January 6, 2017), making it crucial to understand how people view jaguars. Guyana is also an extraodrinary location. 

The South American country of Guyana is an ecological gem. Nearly 75% of its surface is described as “natural vegetation” by the Guyana Forestry Commission (2016), with the majority of that being tropical rain forest. In addition, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) Guianas claims that 9,000 species inhabit the Rupununi’s savannahs alone (WWF-Guianas, 2014). To be able to work here would be a dream come true, but I need your help.

I need to emark on a preliminary visit to the region where I will be studying this summer. This will give me a chance to begin meeting the people I will work with, get their feedback on my research topic, and develop a truly participatory project. But I cannot fund this trip on my own, and my timeframe for acquiring grants is not encouraging. Here is a list of all of my known expenses for this trip: 

•Airfare to and from Guyana = $1,600
•Decent compact camera and accessories = < $700
•Hotel room in Georgetown for 2 weeks = $630 (Calculated for Julian Guest House).
•Food and lodging at the Caiman House for 2 weeks = $490 ($35 per day).
•Airfare from Georgetown to Lethem = $50
• Gear (hammock, clothing, etc.) = Pursuing donations
Total known expenses = $3,470

However, the above total is almost certainly an underestimate. I have been warned that travel within the Guyanese interior is expensive, although I do not have exact figures. There is also a chance that I will need to pay up to $475 in research permit fees. Therefore I am setting my goal for $4,000, in order to give myself some breathing room.

I will keep none of the money I raise. Every penny I do not use will be donated to NGOs that are focused on wildlife conservation and livelihood assistance in Guyana. In the interest of transparency, I will post proof of these donations both here and on my blog.

Please consider making a donation – no amount is too small! Sharing this campaign on social media is another great way to help.

Feel free to visit my blog, The Jaguar and its Allies, to learn more about my background and interests. I will post updates to my progress as frequently as possible: both here and on that site.

I will be incredibly grateful for any support you can offer! 

References:

Guyana Forestry Comission. (2016). Home. Retrieved from http://www.forestry.gov.gy/.

World Wide Fund for Nature Guianas. (2014). Preliminary report: South Rupununi Biodiversity Assessment Team (BAT) expedition. Retrieved from http://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloads/2014_south_rupununi_bat_preliminary_report.pdf.
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Organizer 

Joshua Gross 
Organizer
Arcata, CA
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