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Sherman, located approximately 100 km north of Panama City, is a remote field station that hosts one of STRI’s crane facilities. This field station was conceived to conduct research in a wet evergreen forest at Parque Nacional San Lorenzo on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The Sherman crane is 52 meters tall with a radius of 54 meters and can reach approximately 180 species of trees and lianas.


The station has one caretaker 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year. There is limited electrical supply consisting of two solar panels, no potable water, a generator to power the crane, first aid equipment, communication via radio and limited cell phone capability. There is a truck available for the use of the caretaker. There is a helipad next to the facility to be used in case of emergencies. Nevertheless, medical air evacuations are only possible in daylight hours. For additional details of services provided at the SL crane please follow this link

Criminal activities

  • Always go in groups.
  • Always carry a working communication device (radio or cellular phone). The caretaker will provide you with a radio device.
  • Wear bright clothing that can be visible day and night (bright colors such as orange, for example) If possible, use reflective ribbons on your chest and back, or a reflective vest.
  • Use flashlight or lanterns at night.
  • If you detect the presence of poachers, do not hide or run.  Keep your flashlight/lantern on.
  • If you find poachers on your way, keep calm and avoid confrontations.
  • Look for the poachers’ physical features (skin color, type of hair, height, accent, scars or tattoos).
  • Call the STRI Security Control Room (212-8911, 212-8211) and the Game-warden Leader/Supervisor (6496-9340 or 6151-3408) as soon as possible and inform the incident.

Transportation Limitations

Access to the crane facility is via a 7 km dirt road. During the rainy season, you will need a 4wd vehicle to get to the field station.

Field work recommendations and requirements

In order to reach the site, you must be registered. You will need to obtain a copy of the key of the padlock that controls the access to the dirt road leading to the crane site from the Crane Program Coordinator, Lourdes Vargas (212-8194 or 6330-2820 or by sending an e-mail to or Xenia Saavedra (212-8061 or 6619-4665 or

You must register each trip to the field in the Field Trip App (FTA)

Upon arrival, report your visit to the security guard/caretaker of the area and provide a printed copy of the FTA. Remember to close the Field Trip App after returning from your trip. If the field trip is not closed at the specific time of return, the system will generate emails in the Control Room, Security, etc. indicating that the person / boat / car has not returned. This will first activate verification with security and emergency response if there is no news from the group.

  •  Aquatic activities – Swimming in the nearby ponds, lakes or rivers is prohibited due to boating activities, the presence of crocodiles and dense aquatic vegetation.
  • Terrestrial fieldwork The crane research area used to be a military training area; therefore, it is imperative for all researchers to be aware of the possibility of encountering unexploded live ordinance. If you find something you suspect may be unexploded ordinance DO NOT TOUCH IT; MARK ITS LOCATION (GPS) and INFORM THE CARETAKER AND/OR THE STRI SECURITY OFFICE AT ONCE (212-8911).

Weather threats

Strong wind storms, thunderstorms, lighting storms. Find shelter is there is less than 30 seconds between lighting and thunder. Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder before going out again.

Drinking water

Water at the facility is generally clean RAW WATER NOT 100% safe to drink (if you are not accustomed to it); however, it is piped to the bathrooms, showers and sinks, and is useful for washing clothes. STRI recommends that you bring your own drinking water.

Dangerous fauna

Among the dangerous fauna that you could encounter, be aware of possible encounters with snakes, felines, African bees and other insects that carry tropical diseases (leishmania, Chagas, etc.).

Snakes bites, scorpions and bees – Stay calm and contact the caretaker. (Note: There is one bright yellow Pelican case in the house with anti-venom that needs to be taken to the hospital with the patient. This anti-venom is to be used ONLY by medical personnel and if the hospital ran out of anti-venom).

Medical facilities

There is a first aid kit and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) at the station. To receive medical attention, you need to travel to Colón. There are two private hospitals (Hospital 4 Altos and the Centro Médico Caribe) and one pubic hospital (Hospital Amador Guerrero) in the Colon area. In case of a medical emergency, it will take no less than 30 minutes to reach the main road to Costa Abajo, Colón and 10 more minutes to reach the Gatun Locks.

  • Any medical situation shall be reported to the STRI-OPS Control Room (212-8911/8211).
  • Patients and/or caregivers can consult a doctor by calling 279-3111 identifying themselves as a STRI collaborator.
  • Radio Tupper by saying: “Garita, Garita, Garita over…” or call for help (212-8911 or 212-8211).
  • In the event of snake bites, scorpions, bees and other situations:
    • Avoid unnecessary movements (i.e. Do not walk, nor run, nor do any strenuous movements that will speed your blood circulation). If there is a need to walk, you may apply a constrictive bandage above the byte w/o cutting blood circulation.
    • wash the wound with plain water and cover it with a loose bandage to avoid infection.
    • You will need to be transported by stretcher (if in a remote area) to the nearest PUBLIC hospital or medical facility: Hospital Amador Guerrero (Colón 475-2214, 475-2211, 475-2212).

Meeting places

Outside the main building

Areas of refuge

Bathroom outside the main building

Emergency Information

  • STRI Headquarters Security Guard Booth 212-8911/212-8211
  • Incident Commanders:
    Luis López, 212-8163 / 6613-1509
    Lourdes Vargas, 212-8194 / 6330-2820
    Xenia Saavedra, 212-8061 / 6619-4665