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In June 2024, HEE group is organising two events for pre releasing the AGTA BOOK, and present its current projects in the Philippines. The first event (12th June)

will be at the Embassy of thee Philippines in Bern. The second event (14th June)

will be at the University of Zurich . Both events will have the illustrator Paulo Sayeg, making art panels and drawings related to the Agta Culture.

12th of June, 2024- 17:00 -  Irchel Bar - University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse, 190 Zurich, 8057.

- 14th of June,2024- 19:00 - Embassy of the Philippines, Kirchenfeldstrasse 73/75 Bern, 3005.

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AgtaBook and projects in the Philippines


Come and get a tree planted by an Agta in Northern Sierra Madre, Palanan.


In February 2024, Prof. Migliano and R. Schlaepfer went back (after 25 years) to the Alto Rio Negro region (Brazilian Amazon), and with the great help of the linguist Karolin Obert they could contact the Dâw indigenous people. It was a great experience and a partnership was established to develop part of the HEE research there.

Thank you Karol for the great time with your Dâw friends!

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Amazon, Rio Negro

BRAZIL, 2024

Tree Nursery in Palanan


In January 2024, our Field Coordinator Mr. Sadegh Mostafavi officially started to build the HEE/ISU Nursery in Palanan to attend the Reforestation Programme in Sierra Madre (more information down this page). This project could not be done without the Agta Association and our local partners ISU (Isabela State University) and NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) support. When ready, this nursery will be used to grow cacao seedlings to be planted in key areas of the Agta region, following the Agroforest principles and practices, and certified by DENR (Department of Environment and National Resources). All the technology for cacao production and trade will follow the expertise of the ISU. 

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"Agta Book" Kids version


In January 2024, the HEE group in partnership with PNU (Philippine Normal University North Luzon) started to produce a collection of School Books with Agta traditional stories to be distributed in the Primary Schools of Isabela Province. This project aims to increase the awareness about the importance of the Agta culture. It is a collection of seven books with different tales and related activities to be developed by the teachers and their students. 

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Agta People and Native trees

In January 2024, while the HEE/ISU Tree Nursery is not ready, the Agta from Diago led by Jimmy Donato, produced two thousand and fifty seedlings of Bisahaw tree - Calophyllum inophyllum L. .

These seedlings have been planted along the shore in Colasi region and Diago as part of the HEE Carbon Free project for Carbon Emission Compensation of HEE group.

Thanks for Cuia Jimmy and his group for that initiative!



Official visit of ISU and PNU

In November, we received our partners Dr. Ricmar Aquino (President of Isabela State University) and Dr. Leticia Aquino (Executive Director of The Philippine Normal University - North Luzon), to define the next steps for the running projects and design new initiatives and programmes related to the Agta people studies.

They also facilitated the meeting with the Filipino Ambassador Bernard Faustino Dy (in Bern), and designed the International Exchange Programme to be supported by that Embassy.

Thanks Dr. Ricmar and Dr. Leticia for the great partnership! 

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BERN, 2023

Meeting Ambassador Bernard

In November, HEE group and members of our Filipino partners ISU (Isabela State University) and PNU (Philippines Northern University) had a meeting with the Ambassador Bernard Faustino Dy, in Bern.

We had the opportunity to introduce and discuss about different projects for supporting the Agta People, such as the Agta Book, The HEE Carbon Free, Agta teachers and the International Exchange Programme

The Ambassador decided to join our projects, giving great support for all of them!

On June 2024, the Embassy will host an event for the official launching of the Agta Book. 

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Water pump in Diago

In August, with the help of the Agta Association and coordination of NCIP, the Diago Community built one

deep-well in Diago. This new water resource will benefit around 35 families which live in that area.

Thanks Jimmy Donato for making it possible!

Day at the Museum

In July, the Kantonsschule Musegg (Luzern) and the HEE group organised day tours at the Museum of Anthropology (University of Zurich). The Gymnasium Students took a "Journey" through Hominin Evolution and were challenged to "walk" and produce "stone tools" like our ancestors. 

Thanks Eveline Weissen and Heidi Humbertremp for making it possible!

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ZURICH, 2023

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Great Job!!! The NCIP Region 2 Office accomplished a great task for stating up the Reforestation Programme in Sierra Madre. During the month of April, NCIP organised and officialised an Agta IP Association with the help of the Agta leaders of Palanan.

This Association will facilitate the  implementation of the HEE Carbon Free initiative and other future projects with the same profile involving the Agta Peoples.

Thanks for Anne Sugguiyao, Roy Layao, Ladylyn Ballesteros and Gener Cabaldo, and all other members of the staff.

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Agta IPs Association


Reforestation Programme in Sierra Madre


In March 2023, HEE group started the implementation of a Reforestation Programme in partnership with its local partners and the Agta peoples of Sierra Madre - HEE Carbon Free. This pilot programme aims to neutralise the emissions of Carbon of the HEE group. It will be needed around 25000 trees to be planted per year, and these seedlings will be produce and planted by the Agta, under the coordination of CoSel and University of Isabela. A tree nursery for producing more seedlings has been designed and will be build in Palanan (North of Sierra Madre). We expect to have  more Research Groups from UZH to join the programme when expanded. A number of 800 seedlings of native species were already acquired this month from the Dumagat of Quezon benefiting 65 families of that area. A 3D map of the Palanan region was made to help identifying the key areas to be reforested.

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BaYaka Fieldsite 

In February 2023, Prof. Andrea Migliano and Rodolph Schlaepfer went to Brazzaville and joined the HEE local team coordinated by Prof. Ifo Suspense for a trip through Sangha and Likouala regions.

This trip was very important to establish partnership with Marien Ngouabi University, local NGOs, Governmental Agencies and the BaYaka leaders of those regions.

In the end of March 2023, HEE group will start sending students to develop scientific research in partnership with the Department of Forest Ecology of the MNU as part of the COLLABORO project.

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 Here we have the video of Prof. Andrea Migliano talk in "The emergence of collective knowledge and cumulative culture in animals, humans and machines", a Scientific discussion meeting organised in partnership with the British Academy by Professor Andrew Whiten FBA, Dr Ellen Garland, Professor Dora Biro and Professor Simon Kirby FBA.

Professor Migliano proposes that the cultural capabilities of humans are the evolutionary result of a stepwise transition from the ape-like lifestyle of earlier hominins to the foraging niche still observed in extant hunter–gatherers.

The foraging niche perspective may explain why a complex gene-culture dual inheritance system evolved uniquely in humans and interprets the cultural, morphological and genetic origins of Homo sapiens as a process of recombination of innovations appearing in differentiated but interconnected populations.


ZURICH, 2022

Collaboro Project starts in December 2022

Prof. Andrea Migliano (Department of Anthropology, University of Zurich) has been awarded an ERC consolidator grant called COLLABORO: Adaptive history of human socio-cognitive development. This project will add to other successful past and current research projects carried out the Human Evolutionary Ecology Group (HEE) at UZH.

We are very thankfull tp SERI (State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation) in Switzerland for supporting the projects approved by ERC.

During December 2022, a great number of applicants for the five PhD positions have been interviewed and soon HEE will have new research members. 

We are also working to start new field sites in other countries!

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ZURICH, 2022

Welcome Dr. Robin Morrison

The HEE group welcomes Dr. Morrison who has been awarded a prestigious AMBIZIONE fellowship and her PhD student Victoire Martignacf. They will both join HEE group on September 2023.

Dr. Morrison works in collaboration with @SavingGorillas, using mountain gorillas as a study system to examine the evolution of flexible dispersal patterns.


AMAZON, 2022

Mamiraua Reserve Communities Cooperation

Our research project in partnership with Mamiraua Institute (Tefe, Brazil) already finished the data collection phase. During six months Phietica Rodrigues (PhD student) worked collecting data on cooperation in different communities inside the Sustainable Development Reserve of Mamiraua. Currently she is analysing the social factors leading to the success of cooperatives inside that Reserve.

NEPAL, 2022

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FIeldwork in Surkhet

In September 2022, Gina Menn and Inez Eliza were in Nepal working with the RAUTE people. They faced a great cultural transition in that community. In December, Inez Eliza returned to the same field site to collect more data for her PhD. 

More great news... After six months of hard work, some members of our local team were invited to join the first committee to represent the Raute people in Surket. This committee is responsible for defining policies and to facilitate the implementation of projects related to the Raute from now on.


Agta Book

The Agta Book is in its final editorial phase. This book project illustrates the Agta lifestyle with photos, presents texts of scientists and professionals working with the Agta, and also immortalises the Agta traditional stories.   The book illustrations are made by Paulo Sayeg and its contents will be written in four Languages (Agta, Tagalog, English and German).

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FIeldwork in Diago

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In November 2022, Meike Gunter and Gina Menn went to the Philippines for Data Collection. During 40 days, they worked together with our local team in the AGTA communities of Diago and Dipagden.



Research Centre Facility in Palanan

Following the aims of the signed MOU with our local partners (Isabela State University and Lyceum of the Philippines University), we finished the refurbishment of the building located at the Isabela State University, Campus Palanan. This building will be used as a Research Facility Centre, which can accommodate six researchers and storage all equipment for our future field work expeditions in that region.   

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ZURICH, 2022

Nomads Forest Survival Course

In September 2022, the HEE group offered a Forest Survival Course for its team and other members of the Department of Anthropology, to prepare students for fieldtrips. 


The course was designed by NOMAD and tailor-made for our field sites, focusing on Risk Assessment, Medical Emergencies, Infection Control, Remote Areas Communications and tracking, Emergency Evacuation, Camping Equipment among other topics. NOMAD also provided professional medical kits for emergencies in remote areas.


For this training, NOMAD provided two HCPC registered paramedic instructors, both with military backgrounds and extensive expedition experience. 

Since the HEE group is increasing, we are planning to offer another Forest Survival Course in 2023.

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