CESAM Interviews: Isabel Lopes, Milene Matos, and Susana Loureiro discuss their participation in the RTP1 series “Guerreiras pela Natureza”

The RTP1 series, “Warriors for Nature,” portrayed a group of women with outstanding careers dedicated to Nature Conservation in Portugal. Their work contributes to ensuring the future of threatened species and protected habitats in our country.

In this program, broadcast between September and October of this year, the stories of several Portuguese women were shared in six documentary episodes.

Three of these women are researchers from CESAM, so we wanted to learn more about their participation in this television program.

Join us for our interview!

CESAM: First of all, thank you for being willing to share this experience with us.

CESAM: I’ll start by asking how you felt about sharing your personal and professional lives on television?

Isabel Lopes: I’m a private person, so I was apprehensive about sharing my personal life. However, after seeing the episode, I felt that the context of our personal lives was very well integrated with our professional journey, bringing fluidity and naturalness to this path. I felt comfortable with the sharing.

Milene Matos: I believe that the sharing didn’t focus so much on aspects of our private life but rather on the idea that science, as a means to have a positive impact on the environment and the community, is carried out by ordinary people. The series showed accessible and inspiring careers, especially for young students.

Susana Loureiro: Our personal and professional lives are always intertwined, and the choices we make personally reflect in our professional life. As children or young people, how we see the world influences the questions we ask and the choices we make.

CESAM: After the broadcast of the various episodes on RTP, you must have received contacts from family, friends, and acquaintances about your participation in the series. What feedback have you been receiving?

Isabel Lopes: I received very positive feedback about the series, from the structure to the images and information content. An interesting comment was that the presentation of personal information “makes the scientist more human and closer to society in general.”

Milene Matos: The feedback has been very positive, with numerous shares and reports of surprise regarding our work.

Susana Loureiro: I have received positive feedback from both close people, family, and work colleagues. However, with social media, feedback is faster and more ephemeral.

CESAM: This series was seen by more than half a million people in Portugal alone and reached the top 10 of the most-watched programs of the day on RTP1. These numbers only refer to viewers who watched the program live. Without a doubt, there were many more views through RTP Play. Furthermore, “Warriors for Nature” is being broadcast on RTP Africa, RTP International Asia, and RTP International America this week.

CESAM: In what ways do you believe your participation in a series with such reach has contributed to making your work known?

Isabel Lopes: The common channels we use to disseminate scientific knowledge are more focused on the academic and scientific community. Participation in a television series of this kind allows us to communicate with a much broader and diverse audience, conveying the scientific knowledge we develop in Portugal and its importance for the environment and society in general.

Milene Matos: In my particular case, the series revealed to a wider audience the transformative work that can be done at the local/municipal level, countering the myth that implementing sustainability actions takes decades.

Susana Loureiro: Participation in the series can show society the connection of science and research to current problems, with the aim of solving them in the short and long term. We can share successful examples that were shown in the various episodes. I hope this rekindles hope in many young people, especially girls and women, considering careers related to science.

CESAM: Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and reflections.

Like you, we hope that this program can inspire young people to pursue careers in science and make significant contributions to the environment.