Students Cultivate Trees and a Sense of Place

Posted: February 23, 2012

Name: Dr. Justus Kithiia
Position: Lecturer in Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Vales
Program: Rainforest Studies, Australia

It is now 3 weeks since students arrived at The SFS Center for Rainforest Studies. I can tell that students have cultivated their own sense of place; they seem to have fitted quickly to the structured time of the program and have also had time to move out of the rainforest and into the neighboring towns to get an idea of how life is in the Tablelands.

The Tablelanders are awesome people, always very friendly and welcoming to our students. One local resident asked me whether I “come from that school with those gorgeous American kids?,” and I could see the genuineness of this question in her eyes. We feel good when we receive comments like this from local residents. Students have also begun to find their way in the community by attending rainforest tree plantings with the local reforestation group TREAT. In just two weeks, SFS students and staff have contributed to the planting of almost 6,000 trees.

The weather has being amazing. Surely, this is supposed to be the wet semester here at the Center, and as such, it should be raining all day, all night, all week. But where are the rains? I’m not complaining—indeed, no one is. This has only made our academic program to be even more enjoyable, making it possible for us to conduct field lectures without disruptions by the rain. So far so good!

This being the third week, the ‘honeymoon’ is basically over. Students are very busy attending lectures and working on various assignments. The next couple of weeks will be spent conducting field exercises and excursion trips (weather and road conditions permitting) to Chillagoe and Daintree areas of Far North Queensland. There is so much we are looking forward to.