Fundación ECO — Ecosistemas del Chaco Oriental
In 1996, my wife, Claudia Valeggia, and I established research projects in the Province of Formosa. While my work in Formosa focuses on the study of primate behavior and mammal conservation, Claudia conducts studies in Human Reproductive Biology. Her project, The Chaco Area Reproductive Ecology Project (CARE) works with the Toba and Wichi of the Argentinean Chaco.
Our extended field work in Northern Argentina led Claudia and I to take notice of the urgent need for action regarding issues of conservation and education in the Argentinean Chaco. Thus, together, and encouraged by our mentor Dr. Rudy Rudran, in 1999 we founded Fundación ECO with the mission of promoting education in the area.
The Foundation was a novel concept in Formosa, and it was initially difficult to generate interest; much personal sacrifice was involved in the establishment of the organization. Slowly, family and friends became more and more involved and since then they have been instrumental in the development of Fundación ECO’s programs.
Today, the foundation provides educational research experiences to students from around the world with the hope of raising awareness about this forgotten region of Argentina. We also regularly work with colleagues and friends from Formosa in trying to promote education at all levels.
The foundation is now also the Argentinean umbrella organization under which the Owl Monkey Project and Claudia’s Chaco Area Reproductive Ecology Project operate. In 2007, the University of Pennsylvania purchased a house in Formosa to establish an international field station for our projects. The Penn-owned field station (Casa 100 – the house’s address) is operated and maintained by the ground support of Fundación ECO.
Board of Directors, Fundación ECO
Analia Vaudagna, President
Claudia Valeggia, Vice President
Ernesto Ruiz Guiñazú, Treasurer
Marcelo Rotundo, Secretary
Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Director of Science
Casa 100 Research House, Formosa, Argentina
The University of Pennsylvania Research Station is maintained with the support of Fundación ECO