A nice article in the May Scientific American by writer Fredric Heeren reviews the new Turkana Basin Institute:
Researchers now claim to have found a way to collect fossils quickly while motivating the people to protect their heritage, a plan that involves a shift from 10-week field seasons to 50 weeks of fossil collecting annually.
The activity will fall under the aegis of the newly formed Turkana Basin Institute (TBI). Guided by Richard Leakey, his wife Meave and daughter Louise, it has raised $2.1 million to build a permanent field station at Ileret, east of Lake Turkana. Since April 2007, this camp has been transformed from a few tents into a field worker's wish list: a stone lab with plenty of curatorial space, staffed kitchens, metal prefab buildings and a garage with a full-time mechanic. The directors hope that year-round work will accelerate fossil recovery fivefold. Next year a second station will be built on the lake's west side.
The article goes slightly into some disagreements about the role of the institute and its relationship to ongoing field sites.
The TBI, connected to Stony Brook University has a website, which is very slick-looking -- but its captions sloppily still include Latin filler instead of actual information. I hope they get a discount on the design!
Anyway, it generally sounds like a good idea. Considering the number of permanent year-round field stations in primatology, it only makes sense to have such a facility for productive paleoanthropological field sites. I only wish there were more field sites that justified the investment!