Extinctions, by starkly revealing irreversible and compelling evidence of ecological change, represent an effective way of focusing public, media, and political attention on environmental issues. Conclusions that can be drawn from data collected through the CREO research program will undoubtedly advance the cause of conservation by raising the public conscience about the nature of this problem, as well as indicating steps needed to halt and reverse extinction trends.
Furthermore, we recognize that public interest in biodiversity and environmental issues is fueling political and commercial action. This requires that the general public are themselves informed with the best available data. If accessible information on extinct species is inaccurate or unreliable, it can be detrimental to sound policy decisions and to public support for conservation measures (Pye-Smith, 1999). The CREO research program will provide the general public with extinction data that are as consistent and reliable as possible, in order to minimize the possibility of misrepresentation of extinction causes and consequences.
In order to promote the study of recent extinctions, an important aspect of this web site is our Research Resources site, which is designed for scientists, students, and the general public who are interested in investigating information about recent extinctions. This site is continually updated and includes information on publications, CD-ROMS, and web sites relevant to the study of recent extinctions. This site also includes tips on searching library catalogs and databases.
We also hope to develop partnerships with the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology. The National Center was created in December 1997 to address the urgent need for increased science literacy across the nation. The National Center has assisted in the development of this web site, and will continue to provide advice, ideas, and support for educational products and programs that can be developed as a result of the data gathered through the CREO research program. For example, the National Center sponsors BioBulletins, online current science stories about biodiversity issues. We hope to develop bulletins for this program that focus on biodiversity assessment and the importance of measuring extinctions.
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