Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study critical issues in conservation and sustainability, with special reference to biological diversity, development, and community-based environmental efforts.

Hello from Lang'ata! We have crossed the equator twice in the past week - today we made the long trek back south to the Nairobi area from the Samburu region, crossing the equator again just outside of Nanyuki. We wrapped up our week in Wamba (Samburu) with some insect sorting work, a visit to a local home in Wamba, and a game drive today through the Samburu National Park. We had some van trouble on the way home, so arrived back in Lang'ata later than planned this evening - tomorrow we have another long day, as we'll head west to Mombasa. More later...

You can read about all their adventures on their blog, Notes in the Field.

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study critical issues in conservation and sustainability, with special reference to biological diversity, development, and community-based environmental efforts.

We are here in the northern Kenyan region of Samburu, where we are spending this week at the Earthwatch Kenya Drylands Research Field station in the small town of Wamba. We are into our third day here, after a long 6+ hour drive north from Lang’ata – the last hour or so of which was across a dusty sand track. The landscape here is dotted with ancient volcanic cinder cones, and is scrubby and arid, with water conservation and quality central to many environmental and social concerns.

The station here has been the site of many community-based environmental research projects conducted by Earthwatch Institute over the past several years. Before we left Lang’ata, Dr. Nick Oguge (Director of Eathwatch Kenya, and President of the Ecological Society for East Africa) visited us and gave us an overview of the various research projects that have been conducted here. These include an ethnobotany investigation into the efficacy of various local plants as medicinal cures, and a project focusing on the conservation of an endangered zebra species. This species, the Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), numbers fewer than 3000 in the wild now. Once widespread throughout East Africa, it has been driven to extinction in all but Kenya and Ethiopia, with most of the dwindling population residing in the Samburu region where we are staying. Our first morning here, in fact, we set out into the bush to look for Grevy’s zebras – and were able to find a small population within an hour or two! We also stopped at a local regional market afterwards and wandered among the stalls of vendors from far and wide selling their wares.

The last few days have been spent doing fieldwork – including an 8km hike in the watershed up in the mountains behind the station (part of the Matthews range) to take water samples from the river running down into the village (to test for pH., conductivity, and bacteria as measures of water quality), and a visit to some nearby subsistence farms to collect data on herbivory and insect biological diversity. We’ll do some more water quality testing and some insect sorting and identification over the next few days – then we’ll head back south to Nairobi and out to the coast!

Read messages from the students and all about their adventures on their blog, Notes in the Field.


Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study critical issues in conservation and sustainability, with special reference to biological diversity, development, and community-based environmental efforts.

Hello from Lang'ata! We have just finished up a week with the Green Belt Movement, and are back at their center in Lang'ata, on the outskirts of Nairobi. This week we spent a few days in a Chuka community (one of nine Meru tribes) near Mt. Kenya, enjoying time in homestays and working with the women in the local Kiang'ondu network of the Green Belt Movement. In addition to learning about seed harvesting, planting, and forest restoration, we all had a chance to help with daily chores such as milking the cows, cutting up arrowroot and other vegetables for meal preparation, and even learning how to pick tea!

From the Chuka village visit, we headed southwest across the Great Rift Valley to the plains. Today we wrapped up a two-day safari in the Maasai Mara reserve in western Kenya - saw plenty of wildlife (elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, warthogs, topi, gazelles, etc.) and are now resting up back at the Lang'ata GBM centre outside of Nairobi - tomorrow morning we depart early for the northern region of Samburu!

You can read about all their adventures on their blog, Notes in the Field.

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study critical issues in conservation and sustainability, with special reference to biological diversity, development, and community-based environmental efforts.

We are back in Kenya for another month-long UW Tacoma study abroad course - this year I am once again here with Dr. Jim Gawel, and we have ten students from the UW Tacoma and Seattle campuses with us...everyone has come in from the long two-day air trip (via Amsterdam) and are settled in at the Green Belt Movement's (GBM) facilitieis in Lang'ata, outside of Nairobi. Tomorrow is a packed day - orientation, including an overview of the various projects that GBM (brainchild of Nobel prize winner Wangari Maathi, who recently passed away), a visit to a local giraffe sanctuary, and some lectures on Kenyan economics/politics from faculty from nearby Kenyatta University. We're also be preparing to spend some time in the one of the Green Belt Movement communities, with the Chuka up on the eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya. More later - now everyone must get some rest!

You can read about all their adventures on their blog, Notes from the Field.


The University of Washington Tacoma is seeking two to four UWT students to travel to Moscow and jointly produce an issue of The Journalist with students at Moscow State University. The trip is part of a competitive independent study that will take place during Spring Break 2012. The students will team up with students from MSU to write, design and produce a newspaper or magazine. This is a valuable opportunity for students interested in journalism and communications and for the campus as a whole, and is part of a program originated in March 2003 between UWT and MSU. Just from one brief week of working as a team, students from both countries learn about differences in journalistic practices, how one might determine what is newsworthy, and how one might decide the best way to approach a news story. In addition, important cultural differences are illuminated, discussed, and processed independently and together by the Russian and U.S. students. While students can discuss other cultures in their university classes, this type of one-on-one experience cannot be reproduced in textbooks or traditional classrooms.

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Just a reminder: the deadline for priority consideration of applications for the Argentina Study Abroad program is November 16 at 5 p.m. We will continue to accept applications thereafter but don't wait too long - there's only space for 12 students total. Students from all 3 UW campuses are welcome to apply.

The Argentina study abroad program consists of two courses:

The Geography of Buenos Aires (T URB 379 - Urban Field Experience) will primarily involve field work throughout the city, examining a range of topics related to Buenos Aires. Examples include the history and architecture of the city, social issues such as homelessness, environmental issues especially as relates to water pollution, and economic problems confronting the metropolitan area. The course will involve site visits around the city and include academic exercises on these various topics.

The program also includes a Spanish language learning course at the Universidad de Tres de Febrero. This is a beginner's course and will help students communicate with their host families and navigate the city.

For students with Spanish language skills, there is the option to do an internship with Hecho en Buenos Aires, an organization that works with the homeless and produces the publication by the same name. The magazine is sold by the homeless to the general public. Interns may work in the publications office or directly with the homeless depending on their interests.

For more information on this program and to apply, please visit our website.

Are you an undergraduate student or recent grad and interested in a career in diplomacy? If so, come meet the Director of the U.S. Department of State's prestigious Rangel Program, Ms. Patricia Scroggs. She'll be discussing the Rangel Program's exciting fellowships at two info sessions on Thursday November 17th. Both info sessions will cover the same information, so come to whichever one fits your schedule!

Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Info Session
Thursday, November 17th
11:00am-12:00pm (for faculty/staff)
2:00pm-3:00pm (for students)
Thomson Hall 317

The Rangel Graduate Fellowship Program provides benefits of up to $90,000 over two years toward a two-year master's degree, arranges internships on Capitol Hill and U.S. embassies, and provides professional development and support activities for those who want to become Foreign Service Officers in the U.S. Department of State. Fellows may use the fellowship to attend any good two-year master's program in a U.S. institution to study an area of relevance to the Foreign Service, including international relations, public policy, public administration, languages, or business administration. At the end of the two-year fellowship, Fellows enter the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. Applicants must be college seniors or graduates looking to start graduate school in the fall of the year they apply, have GPAs of at least 3.2 and be U.S. citizens.

The Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) is available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Students receive tuition and a living stipend:

Academic Year Graduate: $18,000 tuition, $15,000 living stipend

Academic Year Undergraduate: $10,000 tuition, $5,000 living stipend

Summer Graduate/Undergraduate: $5,000 tuition, $2500 living stipend

The FLAS Fellowship is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. FLAS Fellowships support study of the following languages and their world regions:

-Arabic -Bangla -Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian -Bulgarian -Burmese -Canadian First Nations -Chinese -Czech -Danish -Estonian -Filipino/Tagalog -Finnish -French -German -Hebrew -Hindi -Indonesian/Malay -Italian -Japanese -Kazakh -Khmer -Korean -Latvian -Lithuanian -Norwegian -Persian -Polish -Portuguese -Russian -Slovenian -Spanish -Swahili -Swedish -Tajik -Thai -Turkish -Uighur -Urdu -Uzbek -Vietnamese

The following FLAS Information Session, covering FLAS benefits and requirements, the application process, and the use of FLAS awards abroad, will be on the UW Seattle campus:

- Tuesday, December 6, 3:30-4:30, Denny 217

The application is due January 17, 2012. For more information and to apply, check us out online.

Questions? Email!

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.

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CIEE just announced the launch of its Global Access Initiative (GAIN), which is designed to overcome the main barriers to study abroad, namely, challenges of cost and curriculum requirements. GAIN is intended to expand the opportunities for students from all backgrounds and all majors to participate in study abroad programs.

Through GAIN, CIEE is committing one million dollars each year to students who are economically challenged, are pursuing intensive international experiences, or are otherwise limited by their major or student activities. CIEE will provide grants and scholarships to students for full-year, semester, and summer programs.

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