Kicking off centennial celebrations at STRI

March 01, 2010

Kicking off centennial celebrations at STRI

STRI director Eldredge Bermingham called a town meeting at STRI on Friday, February 19, to launch the celebrations of the Smithsonian centennial in Panama

STRI director Eldredge Bermingham called a town meeting at STRI on Friday, February 19, to launch the celebrations of the Smithsonian centennial in Panama. These celebrations aim at creating awareness in the Panamanian community about STRI's mission and the importance of the scientific work conducted during the last 100 years, and the very significant role that Panama and Panamanians have played in our scientific legacy. Bermingham also invited the STRI community to participate in the different committees established to coordinate these celebrations and encouraged the employees to come up with a logo and slogan for the activities.

One hundred years ago this December, nine prominent scientists working under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution took advantage of the fact that natural environments in the Canal Area were being impacted by the construction of the Panama Canal, to study its flora and fauna.

The idea originally proposed years earlier under SI secretary Langley actually came to happen when SI secretary Charles D. Walcott wrote to the United States president William Taft, who approved immediately the Smithsonian Institution's plan in October 1910. The biological survey of the Canal area was very successful scientifically and during their time in Panama, the researchers, either by themselves or in small teams, covered other regions of the Isthmus with the encouragement of the Panamanian authorities.

Attracted by their findings during the expedition, many of the researchers continued to come to Panama during the years to come and produced important works that would lay the foundation for STRI's work.

As the motor for the celebration, the Steering Committee has created eight committees to deal with the key audiences and the specific strategies we will need to use: Internal Audiences, Community Relations, Advancement, Web and Social Media, Panamanian Government, Exhibits and Resources.

As a key initial activity, the Centennial Steering Committee and the Internal Audiences Committee have organized a contest to select the logo and slogan that will serve as the emblem for all materials related to the celebration.

The logo and slogan contest will be open to those affiliated to STRI, past and present. Deadline for submission is March 31. The winner will be announced on April 22. For the contest guidelines, please visit

Following the kick off on February 19, the Institute will carry out activities that are aimed at the STRI community during 2010. The Internal Audiences Committee is preparing a calendar of activities that will be announced shortly.

The kick-off for the activities of the Community Relations Committee will be during the groundbreaking ceremony for our new Research and Education Center in Gamboa in early December.

The celebrations will end in January 2012 with a major event for our donors and supporters.


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