By Diogo Veríssimo
Talking about biodiversity has frequently become talking about extinction, decline and loss. But it does not have to be. The storytelling project “Lost and Found” works to bring to life the inspirational stories of those species that were thought extinct for at least a human generation but where subsequently rediscovered. Our goal is to change the conversations around conservation, away from doom and gloom, and towards more a positive message.
We work to get this content to as many people as possible, by making it freely available online in a diversity of formats. We currently have 13 stories, soon to be 15, from squirrels to toads and salamanders to bower birds, from across Latin America, Oceania and Asia. All of them can be found at www.lostandfoundnature.com in both narrative text and comics, with a new video animation format already in the works. If you are curious, have a look!
We also have a blog where we would like to hear from those with a story to tell around a species rediscovery. Drop us a line if you are interested! Beyond talking about the species we also focused on telling the stories of the people involved in these rediscoveries. This is to ensure that our content is appealing even to those people who are no naturally motivated to read about biodiversity. After all, who does not like a good story?
Lost & Found was launched last weekend at the Earth Optimism Summit, organized by the Smithsonian in Washington DC. We have had a great reception, with more than a 1000 people visiting the website so far. This work has been funded (so far) by the Society for Conservation Biology and the British Ecological Society. It is often difficult to find funding opportunities for outreach activities so I am very grateful to these two professional societies.
Diogo Veríssimo is a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow and President of the SCB Conservation Marketing and Engagement Working Group. Follow Diogo on Twitter for updates on the Lost and Found Project!