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There are still a few openings for the UWT Kenya study abroad course in Winter quarter, even though the priority deadline was last week. If you know of any students interested in this interdisciplinary course focused on conservation and sustainable development, please encourage them to submit their applications.
The Kenya program provides students with access to areas of Kenya and corresponding first-hand experiences that are possible because of relationships that have been built over the past several years between UWT faculty and Kenyan colleagues. For example, part of the course involves travelling to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest near the community of Watamu on the Indian Ocean. Here students will have the chance to work with a world-renowned ornithologist collecting data on the birds of this forest, including six species that are on the brink of extinction.
Students will get experience in constructing mist nets and helping collect vital information (species/age/sex/weight/condition) about the birds before they "ring" them (placing a uniquely numbered metal ring or band on the birds' "ankle") and release them back into the wild. Participation in this course affords students the opportunity to help with an ongoing collaborative research project between UW Tacoma faculty and local Kenyan scientists. Conducted in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service, this research is focused on the intersection of elephant management and bird and arthropod conservation in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. As the forest is ringed by 50+ villages whose residents (from the Giriami tribe) depend on local resources for survival, students will get a chance to engage in a deeper understanding of how elephant crop raids, human forest poaching activities, and conservation efforts in the region collide in a complex system of interacting dynamics. Students participating in this course in the past have gone on to return either as field research assistants with UWT faculty, or on their own doing their own graduate school field work.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and corresponding ecological research is just one stop on the Kenya program; other activities include working with the Watamu Turtle Watch on green sea turtle conservation (patrolling beaches for nesting turtles, helping release turtles caught in fishing nets) as well as working with water quality issues in communities on the coast as well as in the Samburu region of Kenya.
To learn more and apply to do the Kenya program, please visit our website.
To find out what it's like to participate in a Kenya study abroad field studies course, please visit 'Notes from the Field', a blog written from the perspective of one of the program leaders, Professor John Banks.