Magical Kenya

Posted: September 18, 2019

Southern Kenya, where the SFS Center for Wildlife and Water Studies is based, is a land of contrasts with savannas, lakes, the dramatic Great Rift Valley, mountains, and a sundry of cultures. Much of the learning is done within Tsavo-Amboseli Ecosystem, an area over 4,000 square miles. Our experiential learning trips take place in legendary national parks like Amboseli, Chyulu Hills, and Tsavo, as well as the Kimana Sanctuary, all of which are known for their breath-taking beauty and wildlife. These diverse landscapes give the students many fun learning moments.

 

Students explore ecological succession on a recent volcano in Tsavo National Park.

 

Students hiking in Chyulu Hills.

 

Students studying elephants in Amboseli National Park.

 
Our base camp offers great views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This mountain is the highest in Africa and sustains people and wildlife throughout the ecosystem. While at camp the day is never dull as there are a variety of wildlife including bush babies, bush bucks, dwarf mongoose, and baboons that keep all of us cheerful. Introductory classes and field exercises have been taking place at the Center so far this fall semester. The field exercises are an opportunity for students to get involved in hands-on learning. We are based at the heart of Maasai people, one of the Indigenous tribes of the world. We have activities such as visits to their village to engage the local community members in discussion about various dimensions of wildlife conservation. Students this semester will also have an overnight homestay where they will learn about the lifestyle of the Maasai people.

In the parks, students will have field exercises on bird watching, primate behavior, rhino management, and water catchment conservation among other things. Lectures by the faculty will be supplemented by guest speakers who are top practitioners in natural resource conservation. We have invited a wildlife veterinarian, the manager and founder of Lion Guardians, a climate change expert, a rhino conservationist, and a community conservation analyst. Later in the semester, students will undertake a month-long research project on topics such wildlife behavior, climate change, and community water relations.

 

Students at a field class on water management.

 

Students at a reforestation field class.

 

Students and other participants at a wildlife count briefing by staff at Amboseli National Park.

 
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