Our Research Project
Research for 2nd book:
Privately owned & operated, AW Futures, LLC is an organization that offers group travel to understand the setting in which Cubans experience their own environment and efforts to protect/conserve it, while engaging in meaningful interactions to support the civil society and strengthen private Cuban citizens who are “cuentapropistas” (entrepreneurs of Bed & Breakfasts “casa particulares”, private restaurants “paladares”, local artists, local church members and others in the burgeoning private sector).
The purpose of this meaningful exchange is to participate in our humanitarian-environmental project that produces publishable results for our 2nd book, CUBA Ecology. This environmental aquatic project directly supports the Cuban people by predominantly contracting and developing small scale private enterprise for accommodations, meals and transportation while uncovering shareable data for both American and Cuban organizations.
To understand Cuba’s environment, we must understand its people. The two are intertwined..inseparable. To document evidence of change in the ecosystem, we must first have a starting point—a “baseline” inventory of resources. Our educational marine & cultural findings for the Cuba Ecology book serve this baseline purpose and are also shared with marine science organizations such as the NOAA marine database via Reef Environmental Education Foundation (Reef.org) and the The Havana National Aquarium.
Our environmental project discoveries and information are collected using four methods:
1. Marine Site Diagramming Project
Participants team up with local environmental ecology experts / Cuban marine professionals to accurately diagram Cuba’s marine sites. Hand drawn maps record site topography, depth, landmarks and GPS coordinates. These drawings are compiled and compared to serve as the basis to digitally re-create aquatic environmental maps for use in section 7 of our 2nd ecological book.
Digital site maps will be shared with local marine professionals for briefings with future visitors and the Center for Marine Research in Havana. Data is submitted to the group leader before returning.
2. Coral Reef Monitoring & Fish Survey
Photographic & quantitative data of coral formations and marine animals are measured via the Roving Diver Survey Method to be used in section 5 of the Cuba Ecology book. This method was designed in conjunction with marine scientists from NOAA, the University of
Miami, The Nature Conservancy and Reef.Org. Species and approximate abundance scores are recorded on an underwater slate.
Using your marine REEF survey underwater slates (supplied by our organization), participants document the number of marine species, paying particular attention to the number of non-indigenous lion fish invading this area. During this project, participants learn about the most common marine animals and corals in this region.
The group is divided into sub teams of 8 or smaller- each led by an ecological environment expert and local marine professional.
Each recorded species is assigned one of four abundance categories based on how many were seen throughout a single research immersion
[single (1); few (2-10), many (11-100), and abundant (>100)]. This data is submitted to the group leader before returning. It is then compiled and submitted to Reef.org’s database.
3. People-to-People Interviews
The educational group is led to engage in people-to-people interviews and discussions with
locals on current conservation, environmental efforts with the Marine Protected Areas as well as how they balance sustainable seafood efforts with local private restaurant owners
(paladares) in the island’s capital with more than 2 million citizens. These private restaurant owners share how they navigate shortages and government regulations while sourcing sustainable seafood.
Participants also engage in meaningful exchanges with private entrepreneurs about the social and cultural landscape in which they operate and their ecological effects.
4. Historical Feedback
Participants are given a photography shot list to capture cultural and historical imagery and a survey to collect informal feedback to update the background in the book on the current situation in Cuba since the first publication in 2003.
This feedback is submitted within two weeks of the return date.
Full Time Schedule of Activities
for groups of 8-24 travelers
Each humanitarian group is led by a minimum of one employee, paid consultant, or agent of AW Futures, LLC. Author, Amy Warren draws upon her unique and comprehensive knowledge of Cuba to ensure each humanitarian benefit to the Cuban people leads to meaningful discussion for participants and also captures important information for publishing the 2nd book. Participants will engage in a variety of purposeful meetings that directly benefit the local Cuban society including experts in the marine, ecological environment, private business entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, chefs and religious christian church members.
Our 2nd book,Cuba Ecology supports the ground-breaking bilateral marine research agreements between the United States and Cuba.
These agreements allow participants the unique educational exchange opportunities to learn about both conservation efforts and cultural studies with a predominant focus on supporting private entrepreneurship in Cuba.
Our 1st Book, Cuba Scuba, Published 2003, ISBN #0944428657
1. 21 aquatic ecosystem regions around the island
2. 27 corresponding marine site maps
3. What type of marine environments to expect
4. Hundreds of photos of Cuba’s marine ecosystems
5. Detailed descriptions of marine immersion sites
6. Aquatic Coastal operations & equipment
7. Historic 1898 shipwreck diagrams
8. Protected marine areas & national marine parks
8. Cultural exploration and engagement with photos
9. Historical origin references to regions
10.Private Entrepreneurs: paladars, casa particulars
11. Useful aquatic terms in spanish
12. Embassy information in Havana
13. American travel regulations & experiences
14. Airline information, weight restrictions, schedules
15. Suggested humanitarian donations & people support
16. Currency Information
17. Insider tips and MORE!