Wildlife Management Studies, Kenya
This period marked the beginning of the fall 2011 semester here at the SFS Kilimanjaro Bush Camp in Kenya. The academic program started slightly more than one week ago with students adjusting to the field based learning which is uncommon in many conventional universities. All lecturers have completed their initial round of field lectures and exercises introducing students to environmental conservation issues in the Amboseli region.
Students have had a chance to hike three hills with different lecturers during this period. These hikes are popular here as they expose students to the real conservation issues first hand, while enjoying the various spectacular landscapes associated with the Amboseli region.
A hike up the observation hill in Amboseli National Park enabled the students to view the beautiful landscape associated with this famous park from the top of the hill, a really amazing experience. During the Amboseli National Park excursion most students had their first time encounter with wild African elephants, buffalos, Maasai giraffes and many other charismatic wild mammals of Africa including the lion and hyaena.
This was an incredible and amazing experience to the students which they will definitely not forget in a long time. The coming weeks promise to be equally amazing if not more, both in the field and at Kilimanjaro Bush Camp what with the array of activities lined up already.
– Dr. Shem M. Mwasi, Lecturer in Wildlife Management
Today we had our first game drive, lab assignment, and visit to Amboseli National Park. It was epic! In Amboseli we saw more animals and biodiversity than our wildlife management professor had seen in a long time. During our animal counting assignment in one location there were over 240 zebra and we tallied over 10 different species of large mammals.
However, over the course of the day we saw more than 20 including lions, hyenas, giraffes, and elephants, some of which were within arm’s reach of the car. The baby animals were also plentiful and adorable. Even though we learned valuable lessons in identifying, tallying, and observing animals, I truly cannot believe this counts as school.
Seriously, when do you get to start the day with a nature hike instead of reading a textbook, followed by a seven-hour adventure to a national park, which one would expect to see only in a National Geographic special, to end the day celebrating a birthday and relaxing around the campfire?
Even our bandas are like mini zoos as my front porch is home to three mice, two bats, and a bird. Although we have only had about a week of class, I already feel comfortable enough with my teachers to joke with them. I think this relationship will nicely complement the rigorous, case-study based classes they teach to create an extreme, wonderful, and educational experience which will easily transition into practical, real-world knowledge.
– Brenna Donnellan, Santa Clara University