Scientist funds Brazil trip

Want to win a free trip to Brazil? By participating in the Amazonian Conference you have that chance. But the Conference is more than just an all-expenses paid trip to the Amazon – it’s about the environment – learning about the issues that face lead to a better understanding of conservation.

On April 16, the department of history and geography, department of sociology and philosophy, the Environmental Organization of Students, the Latino Student Union and the College of Communication will host the Amazonian Conference in the Otto Budig Center from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.

The Amazonian Conference is an in-depth look at the environmental issues in the Amazon as well as a discussion on the pressures our planet faces daily.

A Brazilian physicist and environmental educator, Valdir Bento, approached Bob Wilcox ,a history professor at NKU, in the fall of 2002, Wilcox said in an e-mail. “Bento was testing waters in the area and decided to try Northern as a place for the Conference,” Wilcox said. He added that although Bento established the Conference in the early 90’s, touring in Brazil, Portugal, and Britain, this is the first year it has been offered in the United States.

At the Conference, Bento will hand out a packet of information to participants Wilcox said. Wilcox said his lecture would be aided with the use of slides.

After students go to the Conference they will have a week to review the information given to them by Bento. When the week is up, Wilcox said, those who participated in the Conference would then take a test.

Wilcox added that the person who receives the highest score would win a trip to Brazil, spending 10 days in the rainforest working one on one with nature. The trip will be funded by Bento. “It all comes from his pocket,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox said the hope is after returning from Brazil the student will have a different look on life and will be interested in starting an Amazonian Conference environmental organization at NKU.

Wilcox said he is interested in the Conference for many of the same reasons as the speaker. These interests include “encouraging awareness of young people about the environmental pressures on our planet, and becoming interested in taking action to protect environments,” Wilcox said.. He said it is important to embrace every possible chance outside the classroom to educate people about the environment.

Another reason Wilcox said it is important to have the Amazonian Conference at Northern is because it will, “further environmental education on campus and our campus needs it.”

Not only is Wilcox interested in the conference for educational purposes but he is curious about the happenings of the environment. “I have a personal interest in both environmental issues and the Amazon,” Wilcox said, “since both figure in my research and teaching at NKU.”

“The ultimate hope,” Wilcox said, “is that if response is favorable, NKU can host the conference annually and contribute significantly to environmental awareness of the Amazon.”