News from the OTS Board of Directors 

The OTS Board of Directors met in Costa Rica on March 13-16, 2024.  On the morning of March 13, we visited several urban ecology research and conservation projects before the Board meeting in the afternoon, starting with remarks by outgoing Chair, Dr. George Middendorf. That evening, OTS hosted an event to mark the soft opening of the new OTS Center for Urban Tropical Studies. Invited guests heard from three Costa Rican scientists (Dr. Luis Sandoval, University of Costa Rica; Dr. Zaidett Barrientos Llosa, Universidad Nacional a Distancia; and Jossy Calvo, OTS and TEVU/UNDP), who presented research and outreach findings focused on the impact of climate change and urban development in the tropics. Board members and OTS staff traveled to Las Cruces Research Station and Wilson Botanical Garden. A tour of facilities was led by station staff, with the opportunity to learn about the fascinating hummingbird research being carried out by Ferne Kotlyar and her graduate advisor, Dr. Helene Wagner (U. Toronto).  

In meeting sessions, the Board discussed a donor-sponsored strategic and business planning opportunity and met virtually with the consultants recommended by OTS staff from a competitive pool. Other topics of discussion included an expansion of membership to include additional categories for individuals and organizations, opportunities for synthesizing ideas and research across OTS programs and centers, and using OTS as a grant originator for multi-institution collaborative grants Board members were treated to an afternoon reception with longterm OTS friends, including the San Vito Bird Club, Osa Conservation, and Finca Cántaros Dr. Rebecca Cole (Restor) gave a presentation on the developing plans for the OTS Tropical Center for Restoration Science based at Las Cruces. Finally, elections for two open positions as officers were heldDr. Chelsea Ward (Auburn University, Montgomery) is the new Chair of the Board of Directors. With Chelsea accepting the role of Chair, the position of Secretary of the Board was vacated. I am very happy to fill this role for the OTS Board of Directors.

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