The Chilean government recently awarded $15 million to a conservation program at the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve near Puerto Williams, Chile, where UNT researchers apply a multi-faceted approach to conservation and sustainable development.

"This will strengthen the social mission and research excellence in a privileged place for the monitoring of climate change and testing of a sustainable development," says Ricardo Rozzi, program director and UNT professor of philosophy and religion.

The reserve is part of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, a consortium led by UNT in the U.S., and Chilean universities and institutions. The monies will fund construction of a new 2,500-square-meter Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center that provides world-class facilities to the Chilean Antarctic Province and promotes sustainable development in the area. It will feature a sector dedicated to scientific research that aims to attract specialists from across the globe and an interpretive visitor's center that promotes the biodiversity of Cape Horn.

"We look forward to successfully completing this new international phase with UNT," Rozzi says.

The funding was approved shortly after Chilean President Michelle Bachelet visited Omora Ethnobotanical Park, where Rozzi guided her through an innovative activity. The park is a nature reserve used as a natural laboratory and classroom.

The Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, coordinated by UNT, the University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Chile, works to link biological and cultural conservation with social well-being from the southernmost end of the Americas.