Workshop in Guadeloupe: A unique event at the intersection of science, training, and camaraderie

The light begins to fade over the beautiful archipelago of Guadeloupe. In the conference room, final preparations are underway, while participants continue to arrive from all over the Caribbean. The hotel lobby gradually transforms into a place of meetings and reunions, setting the stage for a week rich in exchanges and discoveries. The first evening spent together marks the launch of the Caribaea Initiative workshop. The magic is back...

Training session during the workshop

From June 3 to 6, 2024, Caribaea Initiative organized its "Training & Reinforcement Workshop" in Guadeloupe, an event that was a great success. Nearly 40 people from various territories in the insular Caribbean (Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos) as well as from the United Kingdom, France, the USA, and Switzerland gathered to share their knowledge and/or enhance their skills in the fields of research and conservation.

The first morning began with an introductory session. After the President of the association welcomed the participants, each attendee had the opportunity to introduce themselves. The history and mission of Caribaea Initiative were discussed. Then, Annabelle Vidal and Jeffey M. Paul presented their PhD research, conducted with the support of the association.

All participants introduced themselves.

The next two half-days were devoted to zoonoses and the "One Health" concept in the Caribbean. The presentations introduced various marine and terrestrial pathogens in the region and the importance of monitoring them. Practical sessions enabled participants to gain skills in the critical reading of scientific articles and the use of cartographic tools for the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases.

The following four half-days focused on modern techniques for remote monitoring of animal species, particularly data collection using acoustic recorders, camera traps, and drones, as well as methods for analyzing images and recordings. These tools, whose use is rapidly expanding, offer new perspectives for the study and conservation of biodiversity, and many of the association's projects already include them.

The training sessions, led by young researchers from the Caribaea Initiative team, members of its Scientific Council, and renowned experts, combined lectures and practical work. Participants had the opportunity to handle acoustic recorders and camera traps and use specialized software, thus enriching their practical skills

The end of the first day was marked by a dinner-cocktail evening, during which participants presented their research work with scientific posters. An evaluation committee composed of six researchers had the challenging task of judging the thirteen posters presented. Sergio del Castillo, a former Cuban master's student, was awarded the prize for the best poster for his work on a newly introduced frog species in Cuba. This evening was an opportunity for rich exchanges and fruitful discussions.

Best Poster Award presentation.

The posters sparked rich discussions.







In addition to the training sessions, the Scientific Council, with most of its members present, met for an entire morning, allowing for enriching discussions on the future directions of the association. But above all, many discussions took place among all the attendees, whether during the sessions or in more relaxed moments. For many of us, this event was a unique opportunity to meet or reconnect in person with colleagues we usually communicate with mainly via email. These moments of camaraderie were a powerful driver for creating and strengthening solid bonds among all participants, thus consolidating the network gradually developed by Caribaea Initiative over the years.

Social moments allowed participants to mingle and create bonds.

The workshop not only enhanced the participants' skills but also renewed everyone's commitment to the conservation of Caribbean biodiversity. The energy and enthusiasm displayed during these few days promise a bright future for these fields in the insular Caribbean. After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the spirit and magic of Caribaea Initiative are truly back. The next event, an international conference, is already being planned and will be held in the spring of 2025 in Martinique. We look forward to seeing you there!