Monday, November 15, 2010

Directed Research - "get stressed, but within limits"

Today marked the start of our directed research projects here in East Africa! We took our final exam yesterday morning (there is no such thing as weekends here) and yesterday afternoon we were briefed on the 3 research projects. We filled out a form about our preferences and this morning we heard about which projects we'll be working on. I am in the group working under Shem, our Wildlife Management professor, and our project's main goal is to assess the ecological viability of five wildlife sanctuaries within the Amboseli ecosystem. There are quite a number of sanctuaries that have been established by the Maasai group ranches in the area and by various other entrepreneurs as a way to conserve wildlife and bring in tourism revenue. We are going to assess various parameters (including habitat use, wildlife abundance, species diversity, and livestock and human activities within the sanctuaries). We will conduct 8 days of field research (the rigor of this time period has been stressed by all the professors...) and then we'll spend the rest of our time writing extensive papers on our findings. I am really excited about DR and very happy that I got my top choice of the WM project. When else will I be able to walk transects in a wildlife sanctuary and record the number of elephants I see!? I also know that it will be a pretty intense next month (see the titel of the blog - a quote from Kiringe) and just hope it is not too stressful so that I can enjoy my last month here to the fullest. Wish us all luck and I hope to tell great stories about our time in the field! Catherine
here's another photo from Tsavo

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