Descendants United for Nature, Adaptation, and Sustainability


DUNAS team & partners at Hacienda la Esperanza Nature Reserve.

From left to right: Alex Warneke (Climate Science Alliance), Hector M. Rivera-Claudio (Citizen Scientist), Eric Rodriguez (DUNAS Affiliated Researcher), Dr. Robert Myer (Vida Marina), Carlos Torres (Para la Naturaleza), Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo (DUNAS Principal Scientist), Marisol Rodriguez Miranda (Archaeologist), Mariela Declet-Perez (DUNAS Project Lead), Amanda Leinberger (Center for Climate Adaptation Science & Solutions), and Dr. Amber Pairis (Climate Science Alliance).

Climate Science Alliance
Climate Science Alliance logos Final-01.

The mission of the Climate Science Alliance (Alliance) is to safeguard natural and human communities in the face of a changing climate. We do this through leading activities and creating partnerships which increase awareness of climate change impacts, promote solutions, and facilitate action.

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The Alliance is partnering with Para La Naturaleza (PLN) to launch Climate Kids-Puerto Rico. Climate Kids has served as a very successful approach to engaging youth, families, and educators in understanding regionally relevant climate impacts and solutions. The Climate Kids program tailors climate science and solutions that are based on community values and cultural priorities. As part of this project, Climate Kids is assisting PLN in designing climate communications and integrating information about the sand dune restoration project into PLN’s outreach and educational programs at the Hacienda la Esperanza Nature Reserve.

Team Leads:

Dr. Amber Pairis

Alexandria Warneke

Para La Naturaleza

Para La Naturaleza  is a unit of the non-profit Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico and protects 32,000 acres across 60 Natural Protected Areas. Last year, 6,480 volunteers committed over 75,000 hours to help PLN plant new trees, clean rivers, and conduct research. With a strong volunteer base, some of which are already engaged on monitoring the sand dunes, PLN is well suited to take on citizen scientist based restoration and monitoring. PLN also has a strong education program connecting community members to the Hacienda la Esperanza Reserve. PLN and Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo have collaborated for years on studying the sand dunes in northern Puerto Rico, laying the groundwork for this project.

Team Leads:

Carlos Torres

Karen Bunce Rodríguez

Sandra Faría Dávila

Vida Marina

The Center for Coastal Conservation and Restoration of the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla began operation in 2007 and has been focusing on different aspects of ecological restoration in Puerto Rico. Vida Marina is a multidisciplinary center dedicated to coastal conservation that operates at the UPR at Aguadilla with external funding from the State and Federal governments as well as private companies. Vida Marina has restored over 10 miles of dunes on the northwestern side of the island in the last 11 years.

Team Lead:

Dr. Robert Mayer

Wildlife Conservation Society

This project was made possible through a 2018 Climate Adaptation Fund grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) entitled, “Puerto Rico se Levanta: Learning from extreme events to build and sustain a resilient future". Support to establish the Climate Adaptation Fund was provided by a grant to the WCS from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.