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Rio Hurtado has been promoted as the National Capital of Paleontology through an initiative to advance science

Rio Hurtado has been promoted as the National Capital of Paleontology through an initiative to advance science

About 35 delegations of residents and students from the Coquimbo region toured the Pechasca Natural Monument with guided tours by paleontologists and archaeologists, with the aim of positioning the commune and this wild Kunav area as regional landmarks linking science, tourism and civilization. legacy.

More than 1,200 people learned first-hand about the scientific, touristic and heritage value of the Bichasca Natural Monument, through guided tours given by researchers to students and neighbor delegations to the site, as well as a symposium given by scientists, which made the municipality of Río Hurtado a national capital of paleontology.

This initiative was led by the Community Federation of Neighborhood Councils of Rio Hurtado which, with the support of the Municipality of Rio Hurtado and other institutions, allowed the municipality and this protected wilderness area to become regional landmarks linking science and tourism. and heritage, all through visits directed by the same researchers to student delegations and residents of the region.

During April and May, guided tours are conducted by paleontologists Jared Amodeo and Sergio Soto, archaeologist Andrea Diaz, and geologist Sebastian Monteiro. About 35 delegations of students and neighbors from La Higuera, Offaly, La Serena, Vicuña, Baihuano, Combarbala, Salamanca, the municipalities of Quilicura and Nuñoa in Santiago, students from Copiapó, from the Architecture major of the University of La Serena and professionals from the University of Michigan (USA) completed ) and all Rio Hurtado schools along the 2.5 km trail and visited the Heritage Dissemination Centre, where paleontology and archeology exhibitions are located on site.

“It is important to value our environment, our heritage and to save our history. It is necessary for students to know their origins, where they come from, and how they should value and care for their environment. That is why it is important to have these experts and specialists who share with us not only the romantic evaluation, but the artistic evaluation as well.” “It is an enriching experience that contributes to the educational process,” said Camilo Vasquez, teacher at Liceo Bicentenario de Excelencia de Salamanca.

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The second symposium held at the monument allowed us to highlight the findings of the Bichaska Natural Monument. One of the speakers was paleontologist and anthropologist Pablo Quilodran, who scientifically directs the Atacama Regional Paleontological Foundation and highlighted this community initiative.

“We are convinced that the archaeological, paleontological, cultural and heritage heritage is an engine for regional and local development, in different aspects. We believe that tourism can be a means of generating economic resources, but also the scientific, cultural and educational development of its communities is an essential aspect. It is much easier when there are heritage sites Related in the region In this case, the Río Hurtado has the Bichasca Treasure, where petrified forests have been found, and it was here that the first place in Chile where fossil remains of dinosaurs were found.

While Martina Ramirez, a student at San Jose de la Serena School, listened to the seminar with interest, commenting on how wonderful the day was.

“I was always interested in archaeology and dinosaurs, and I always bought encyclopedias about them. It was very nice to come here, because now I understand more the background of everything, and the presentations that the scientists gave were very complete, so they helped me understand that,” the student said. And much more.”


The Community Federation of Neighborhood Councils of Rio Hurtado presented the initiative as part of its role in promoting the local development of its municipality. Its president, Bernardo Flores, said: “We are very happy with what has been achieved. I am impressed by the number of people who have visited us, as well as hearing and seeing how scholars give importance to our monument, one is surprised. “It was a very interesting conversation and I appreciate everything that has been done to launch this initiative,” Flores said.

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This project allowed the economic revitalization of the neighbours, offering their services to delegations as well as to entrepreneurs in the community, in addition to heritage assessment. In this sense, City Mayor Carmen Juana Olivares appreciates the realization of this initiative as “many people from the area were able to visit the Pichasca Natural Monument, and were able to receive direct talks from the scientists in charge of the paleontologists and archaeologists. We all learned what it means to live in San Pedro.” de Pechasca, which has enormous heritage wealth, and our students toured this monument and pointed out that we must continue to promote Rio Hurtado as the National Capital of Paleontology.

The initiative was funded by the 2023 Regional Environmental Interest Fund of the Regional Government of Coquimbo, technical support from the Municipality of Río Hurtado, CONAF, the Small Cities Program and the Senda Previn Program, in addition to the valuable contribution of the production. Oido Medio Company.