2020, a year that will be hard to forget. Our lives took a 180º turn, from one day to the next, everything was different. Futurismo’s eventually had to stop all its touristic activities for a while. However, this didn’t stop us. In fact it was the opposite. It gave us time to re-think what we have been doing, to look into new perspectives, to restructure our work, get new ideas and develop them.
We started the year with some school visits, the island kids full of energy and curiosity, and eager to learn. Then, everyone had to stay home. Even us. So it was time for our blog to gain a lot of life! We took advantage of the tools we already had to engage the public and share our work, knowledge and passion about the things we love the most – the ocean, its biodiversity and most of all our beloved cetaceans. But we also took this time to think of new educational opportunities! Our oldest collaboration with one of the local schools got back on it’s feet, and hands-on practice and experiential activities that go along with the school curriculum and promote curiosity, critical thinking and nature play were developed and implemented during the last few months agreeing with the established COVID regulations. And more ideas started emerging! This is the time to innovate, and step by step, try, learn, make mistakes, and try again.
The summer arrived and we got back to the sea! We got to continue collecting data on board of our whale watching vessels (after a more than undesirable stop) and keep adding information to our data base and share our knowledge and the work we do with everyone who visits us. Five university students, future marine biologists! joined us as interns during the summer and autumn and got the opportunity to be part of our team and collaborate in the research work we do. Four master’s students did (and are still doing!) their thesis with us, which meant that our knowledge about the pilot whales, fin whales, common and bottlenose dolphins that can be found here in the Azores got wider. Eight cetacean photo-identification catalogues were developed or updated, new matches in the Azores and in the Atlantic Ocean were found. Amazing acoustic recordings of sperm whales, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins were registered at the end of the year. And finally, the year culminated with 3 poster presentations at the XIX National Ecology Encounter, Portugal, where two master students and one Futurismo’s biologist presented the results of their research regarding pilot whales, fin whales and orcas.
A lot more was done! New partnerships were made, our work appeared in newspapers, magazines and tv shows worldwide and Futurismo was certified by the World Cetacean Alliance as a responsible whale watching company!!!
2021 is just around the corner and we can’t wait for it! First, we wish that everyone has a happy and healthy year, we hope that our lives slowly get back to what for us was known as ‘normal’. Second, we look forward to all the projects that are coming, all the masters students and interns that will join us, all the knowledge we will get, all the passion we will share and a world that respects all living beings!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. – Margaret Mead