Friends announce partnership with Peruvian conservation group

Photo of fossil logs at Piedra Chamana

At the 20th Anniversary Celebration in August, the Friends announced a new partnership with the Asociación de la Preservación y Defensa de los Restos Paleontológicos del Distrito de Sexi (Association for Preservation and Defense of the Paleontological Remains of the District of Sexi; SEXI). SEXI is a grassroots organization devoted to protecting and developing for tourism and research the petrified forest of Piedra Chamana, located near the village of Sexi, Peru.

Piedra Chamana preserves a diverse assemblage of 39-million-year-old woods and leaves from the middle Eocene, and has important implications for understanding the paleoclimate and history of low-latitude tropical forests. The fossil forest is also important as a scientific and educational resource for the people of the region.

Photo of fossil log at Piedra ChamanaFlorissant Fossil Beds National Monument paleontologist Dr. Herb Meyer and colleagues, including Dr. Deborah Woodcock of Clark University, have been providing assistance to the village of Sexi in setting up a program to monitor the fossil forest. Through a National Science Foundation grant, they were able to help arrange construction of a museum, and the National Park Service is currently assisting in exhibit design and brochure production.

The Friends hope to raise funds for SEXI that will be used for interpretive exhibits and posters, construction of a fence around the perimeter of Piedra Chamana to protect it from cattle and human impact, construction of a trail to the site. In addition, the Friends can offer information and guidance to SEXI on operating a park Friends group.

The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect upon the signature of the presidents of both organizations. It is currently being reviewed in Lima. The Friends hope this partnership will help enhance scientific knowledge, education, and conservation of this important fossil resource.

Friends President Steve Veatch presented further information about this partnership at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in October. To learn more about this partnership, you can contact him at sveatch@fossilbeds.org.

-Melissa Barton

Photo Credits: Dr. Herb Meyer

Learn more about Sexi and Piedra Chamana at Bienvenidos a Sexi (Spanish).

4 thoughts on “Friends announce partnership with Peruvian conservation group

  1. My wife and I are retired and familiar with northern Peru. Since my background is in geology/paleontology we wondered if there was an active collecting program at the Piedra
    Chamana site?

    Thanks and good luck – Steve

  2. Hi, Steve. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that question. Your best bet would be to contact the park paleontologist at Florissant, Dr. Herb Meyer.

  3. Steve,
    The current goal is to protect the fossils at Sexi, and therefore collecting has been made illegal by the Peruvian government. However, visitors to the petrified forest are welcome. Visit the new Friends-sponsored website to learn more: http://peru.fossilbeds.org

  4. okay this might sound weird and of course you donb4t know me anwayy, im quite a curious person.. so my question is.. what are they mixing in a glass right at the exchanging vows moment? smth colorful that looks like sand. i mean, whats the tradition here? we dont have anything like it. and yes, im sorry to bother u with silly questions

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