Smithsonian National Zoo’s Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability (CCES)

Dr. Kolowski works for the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability (CCES). CCES has been working internationally with governments, industries, academia, non-governmental organizations, local communities and others since 1986 to assess and monitor biodiversity in their regions. CCES is dedicated to promoting science-based environmental awareness, biodiversity research and monitoring, and sustainable use of Earth’s resources. Through an integrated approach of research and training, CCES provides scientific information and builds in-country capacity to foster the sustainable use of natural resources. The program monitoring biodiversity focuses on the tropical and temperate forests of Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Africa, and Asia. Visit their main webpage at

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Check out Joe’s bio on the CCES website.



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Learn about the Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity Project’s conservation goals in the Peruvian rainforest and why Dr. Kolowski is taking all these pictures.



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Search a database of facts and pictures of North American Mammals. Search by geography, species name, family tree, conservation status, or browse the special collections of the National Museum of Natural History. This site has a ton of information and is invaluable for sating any curiosity you might have about the mammals of North America.


Think you could be a conservation biologist?

Then try this animal identification exercise designed by Dr. Kolowski utilizing real images from the camera traps he used to study the biodiversity of the Peruvian rainforest. These images are not touched up, allowing participants to experience the same challenges faced by Dr. Kolowski and other conservation biologists when gathering data on biodiversity. See if you can identify the animals in these images using only the field guide provided as a reference. Once you think you’ve identified all the animals, check your answers using the answer key. Even if you don’t do the exercise, definitely check out the pictures within the exercise for candid photographs of some amazing wildlife you may not see anywhere else.

Besides identifying different species of animals, conservation biologists trying to gather data on biodiversity also need to be able to track individual animals within a species. See how well you can do on Dr. Kolowski’s Ocelot matching game, also using real photos from his research in the Peruvian rainforest. First, chose an ocelot from this list of 6 ocelot images, then determine which slide(s) from this file of 14 ocelot images matches the ocelot you chose from the first list of 6 ocelot images. When you think you have it right, check your answers using the answer key.