Northern Tanzania is home to world famous protected areas including Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks, where elephants, lions, giraffe, baboons, and other large mammals roam. It is also home to indigenous communities such as the Maasai and Hadzabe, whose livelihoods are intricately entwined with the wildlife and natural resources surrounding them. This semester program examines the dynamic and complex real-world environmental issues on the ground in Tanzania. Concepts in wildlife management, behavioral ecology, impacts and adaptation to climate change, human-wildlife conflict, and community-based conservation come alive through field work, community interaction and relationships, and multi-day excursions. Culminating with a faculty-mentored research project, students conduct user-inspired research from beginning to end and then share their findings with stakeholders in the local community.
All coursework taught in English; 2-credit Swahili Language & Culture course
One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age
Week 2: Traveling lectures: Mto wa Mbu and Lake Manyara National Park
Week 3: Classes and traveling lectures
Week 5: Tarangire, Manyara Ranch expedition, game drives, wildlife counts
Week 6: Homestay and classes
Week 7: Lake Eyasi excursion and Hadzabe cultural experience
Week 9: Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti camping excursion
Week 10: Weekend break in Arusha
Week 11: Directed Research field work begins
Week 12: Data analysis and DR writing
Week 13: Individual and community research presentations
Week 14: Closing activities
Itinerary subject to change.
A Note about Program Costs
Includes all pre-program advising services, room and board at the field station and on excursions, park entrance and research fees, program-related transportation, emergency evacuation insurance, and official transcript processing.
Does not include international airfare, international medical insurance, medical costs, and personal non-program related expenses.
SFS 2060 Introduction to Swahili Language and East African Tribal Communities (2 credits)
This course contains two distinct but integrated modules. The Swahili language module offers listening, oral, and written practice of the Swahili language, at a basic level of proficiency, to increase students’ communication and comprehension skills. Much of the Maasai population does not speak Swahili, but it is the national language in Tanzania; this phenomenon will be explained in the second course module. The sociocultural aspects of Tanzanian tribes module emphasizes understanding of, and direct contact and interaction with, the native communities with which SFS works, primarily the Maasai. This exposure to culture and language is reviewed and processed through lectures, field exercises, and classroom discussion. The sociocultural module is designed to help students engage in the culture and be therefore more adept at working effectively in their Directed Research efforts.
SFS 3020 Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values - Tanzania (4 credits)
This course provides insight into the broad social context surrounding natural resources to determine effective approaches to resource management. Students explore the sociocultural context of resource management including: hierarchies and power structures; formal and informal decision-making processes; value systems relevant to natural resources, including religious factors and environmental ethics; past and present uses of natural resources; economic factors (local, regional, external); ownership patterns; attitudes and other factors that effect change and their historical basis; and legal basis for enforcement of environmental policy. Students are also introduced to major constituencies that effect conservation (NGO conservation groups, economic interests, etc.) and their underlying philosophies.
SFS 3710 Techniques in Wildlife Management (4 credits)
introduces students to the questions, principles, and tools used by resource managers in Tanzania’s savanna ecosystem. Students study habitat assessment, plant and animal identification, associations and distributions, and other approaches to evaluating ecosystems. Students examine the behavioral, physiological, and social responses of animals to a changing environment. The course introduces field and laboratory techniques for monitoring ungulate populations and optimizing management practices, as well as addressing decision-making processes on which wildlife management programs are based.
This course presents students with the information and conceptual background necessary to understand the underlying ecological principles of Tanzania’s savanna ecosystem. We focus on the fundamental processes and interrelationships between the biotic and abiotic environment. We begin with basic ecological principles, setting them against the background of Tanzania. Students examine the factors underlying distributions, population biology, and behavioral ecology, along with competition and predation, using African examples. Students discuss theoretical models of different basic ecological principles and then debate their applicability or constraints based on observations made in the field.
This course prepares students to distinguish hidden assumptions in scientific approaches and separate fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. Students learn specific tools including: experimental design; field techniques; basic descriptive statistics; and parametric and non-parametric quantitative analysis. Emphasis is placed on succinct scientific writing, graphic and tabular presentation of results, and effective delivery of oral presentations.