Teacher joins Mexican crocodile research team

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:15

    WEST MILFORD-A local woman, Katherine E. Cuneo, a sixth grade science teacher at Martin J. Ryerson Middle School in Ringwood, has returned from an 11-day research experience in Mexico. Cuneo studied the effects of environmental and conservation issues relating to the American Crocodile in the Mexican mangroves in La Manzanilla, Mexico, in July. Cuneo's team, including 9 other research volunteers from the United States, received on-site training in flora and fauna identification from Paulino Ponce Campos, biologist and project investigator, Sara Huerta, a research assistant, and other research personnel. The volunteers assisted the researchers by conducting field surveys in the Mangroves via boat and on land. Birds were spotted and counted, flora was identified and pressed, and crocodiles were captured, tagged, and body measurements recorded. The team captured three adult crocodiles, bringing the research count to over 60 crocodiles, and they gathered vital statistics about this species. She helped log in scientific data into a computer data base for further study by the members of this project. The goal of this project is to help restore the imperiled mangrove by understanding the environmental challenges faced by the coastal communities. Her trip was partially funded by a fellowship from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The Foundation helps sponsor teachers who participate in an Earthwatch experience. Earthwatch is an organization which "promotes the sustainable conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage by creating partnerships among scientists, the