Charles F. Bennett, Jr. (1926- ), professor of Geography at University of California, Los Angeles, was a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the 1950s and 1960s. He and his wife first visited the Canal Zone Biological Area in 1952 and he returned several times before being named an honorary research associate in 1966. He earned his B.A. in 1955 and Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Carole Ann Bennett (1929- ), Librarian, University of California, Los Angeles, accompanied her husband on his field research, and organized and catalogued the library at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, originally on Barro Colorado Island, now located at the Earl S. Tupper Center in Panama City, Panama.
Charles and Carole first visited Canal Zone Biological Area on Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in Panama in 1952. They returned in 1959 to research the temperature and humidity gradients of the forest. In 1961 and 1963, they returned again. During this period of time they became friends with Director Martin Humphrey Moynihan, and they assisted him in collecting microclimatological data. Carole Bennett also organized and cataloged the BCI library. Charles Bennett returned in 1965 to further study the evolution of neotropical forests including the effects of humans upon the flora and fauna of the forest. In 1966, Charles Bennett became an honorary Research Associate of Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, providing advice and assistance in developing research projects and programs for the Institute.
The Canal Zone Biological Area (CZBA) was established in 1923 on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal as a reserve for scientific study of the tropics. Originally designed as a consortium of universities and government agencies by Thomas Barbour, William Morton Wheeler, James Zetek, and others, CZBA was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in 1946 and in 1966 was renamed the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).