Kenya

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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What are your plans for this winter? Studying hard at UWT? How about studying hard at UWT in KENYA!

The UWT Office of International Programs is offering students the opportunity of a lifetime: A 12-credit course, winter quarter 2012, centered around a month-long stay in Kenya.

Environmental Science Professors John Banks and Jim Gawel will lead *15* students on the field studies course, Sustainable Development in East Africa. Highlights include:

  • Homestays in communities active in Green Belt Movement's tree restoration and food security projects.
  • Safari in the savanna of the famous Masai Mara game reserve, with lectures from wildlife managers on reserve design and challenges.
  • Visit the Arabuko-Sokoke forest reserve on the coast north of Mombasa, participating in an ongoing research effort to link declining bird populations with arthropod resources.
  • Work with local efforts on the coast to improve urban planning and sustainable water management.

If you’re interested, don’t wait: check out the program and apply now…priority consideration will be given to student applications received by October 31st.
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Professor Buck Banks (Environmental Science) spent time in June working on research projects in Kenya.

June 4, 2011

Greetings from the Kenyan coast – I’m here for a few weeks at the Mwamba Field Study Centre (A Rocha Kenya) working with colleagues on several different conservation projects. I’m continuing work on a collaborative project with Colin Jackson, an ornithologist at A Rocha Kenya, and his field crew on conservation of several endangered bird species that inhabit the nearby Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (ASF). ASF is the largest last remnant forest along the East African coast, and is home to six birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (or the IUCN as it’s known) “red list” of endangered/threatened species. Last year we published the results of a study we conducted (with UW Tacoma undergraduates) exploring the interaction of bird and arthropod populations with elephant disturbance; this month we have just submitted another paper (again with the help of UW Tacoma undergraduates who accompanied me here last autumn to do more fieldwork) detailing the preference of one of the red-listed birds (the East Coast Akalat – Sheppardia gunning) for a particular habitat in the forest (Cynometra forest & thicket).

Read the rest of Buck's post in the Notes from the Field blog

Associate Professor Buck Banks (Environmental Science) spent part of September in Kenya working on several research projects.

We wrapped up fieldwork in Watamu this week, capturing some more birds and collecting their fecal pellets, as well as trapping more arthropods. The fecal pellets have been sent to a forensics lab in Nairobi, where they will be scanned for DNA signatures of different types of insects, so that we can determine the composition of the diets of the birtds (and hence focus our data collection and conservation efforts on those species). We also finished recording turtle nesting habitat data along a 4km stretch of the beach; these data will be combined with similar surveys done throughout this year, so we can discern any patterns between beach condition and turtle nesting frequency.

Read the rest of Buck's post in the Notes from the Field blog

Associate Professor Buck Banks (Environmental Science) spent part of September in Kenya working on several research projects.

Jambo from Kenya! I am on the east coast about an hour and a half north of Mombasa, at the Mwamba Bird Observatory & Field Centre. Nestled here at the facility on the Indian Ocean, I and three UWT students have been doing fieldwork for a few ongoing research projects. We spent the last few days in the nearby Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, catching birds in mist nets with a colleague (ornithologist Colin Jackson, Director here at Mwamba) and his team. As the birds are “ringed” (banded for future identification), we have been collecting fecal pellet samples that we’ll have analyzed at a forensics lab in Nairobi for DNA from different types of arthropods in order to better establish what the birds are eating.

Read the rest of Buck's post in the Notes from the Field blog

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study sustainability and conservation in a developing country.

We finished up another terrific week at A Rocha with a series of student presentations, another pre-dawn trip into Arabuko-Sokoke forest to do some more bird mist-nesting, a mid-day visit to nearby Mida Creek (a highly productive inlet off of the Indian Ocean that regularly harbors tens of thousands of shorebirds, many of them long-distance migrants from Europe and Asia), and late-night turtle patrols.

Read the rest of their post in the Notes from the Field blog

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study sustainability and conservation in a developing country.

It's a peaceful Sunday morning here at Mwamba in Watamu – the Indian Ocean is calm & glassy as the sun starts to heat things up; birds are singing, and the Sykes monkeys are already scrambling through the trees, occasionally crashing noisily into the corrugated metal rooftops of the cabanas where we're staying. We've been in Watamu now for over a week; the last two days we made a few forays into nearby Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (ASF), setting up mist nets in order to capture some of the forest-dwelling bird species for which ASF is famous.

Read the rest of their post in the Notes from the Field blog

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study sustainability and conservation in a developing country.

We spent Monday morning exploring the Gede ruins, the remains of a Swahili city nestled in the forest just inland from where we're staying. Thriving for some thousand years as a trade center, Gede was mysteriously deserted around the 17th century (archaelogists speculate that a combination of disease, dwindling water resources, and attacks from neighboring cities did the population in). Inside the ruins monument we climbed up a tree platform that benefits the ASSETS program, which is a program that provides support for secondary school education for children of families surrounding the nearby Arabuko-Sokoke forest, as well as environmental education pertaining to sustainable use of forest resources.

Read the rest of their post in the Notes from the Field blog

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study sustainability and conservation in a developing country.

We're back from a few days at the western edge of Kenya, where we were on safari at Masai Mara, one of Kenya's most famous game reserves. Spread out over 1500 square kilometers and contiguous with the Serengeti in Tanzania, the park has vast expanses of grassland in which all manner of wildlife can be found – we were able to see lions, elephants, cheetahs, cape buffalo, giraffe, zebras, a leopard, and many varieties of antelope (and a tiny snake that found its way into Buck & Jim's cabin!). We're back at Lang'ata this evening to have our last dinner here, which we will share with Dr. Nick Oguge, a local scientist who is one of the founder members and president of the Ecological Society for East Africa (ESEA), who will talk with us about efforts by the Earthwatch Institute to integrate community sustainability and wildlife conservation in the Samburu region of Kenya. Next we're off to Mombasa and the coast!

Read the rest of their post in the Notes from the Field blog

Environmental Science faculty members John "Buck" Banks and Jim Gawel are in Kenya with undergraduates during the month of February to study sustainability and conservation in a developing country.

Lang'ata, Kenya—After a day at Green Belt's Lang'ata Centre getting acclimated and attending introductory lectures from Green Belt Movement (GBM) staff and faculty from University of Nairobi, we set off for a two-day homestay in a GBM community a few hours east of Nairobi. The GBM network we visited is called Matatani, located near the town of Kangundo in an area inhabited by the Kamba tribe. After a warm welcome from the entire community, the class split up into several different family homes and enjoyed the hospitality of home-cooked meals and cultural exchange.

Read the rest of their post in the Notes from the Field blog