Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) and Mpala Research Centre jointly offered a one-week intense field course for this first income generating Wild Class excursion. At OPC, the students from St. Lawrence University immersed themselves into lessons that focused on grass biomass measurements and grass species identification. They were on a mission to find out more about the effects of abandoned bomas on the health of rangelands.
“ Ol Pejeta Conservancy has been amazing, doing research has been an experience like nothing else. We got to go out into the field with no barrier between the wild animals and us and take measurements. We got to learn a lot about the biodiversity here at Ol Pejeta and I can name almost any grass species or type of dung. We got to talk to the people who know this area best and learn from them. Everything, from our rooms to the food, has been amazing as well. Being here, immersed in this environment has been a life changing experience,” says Erin Waters.
After OPC, the students were off to Mpala Research Centre (MRC). They each managed to get a taste of the research being carried out by the diverse group of resident students, some of whom are from Karatina University and Princeton University. The unique set up of MRC allows for researchers to use the land as a ‘living laboratory’ in which to conduct experiments and answer pressing questions on conservation and wildlife.
“Mpala is also strongly committed to using this research to benefit the surrounding communities, the nation of Kenya, and global conservation efforts as a whole, “says their Director, Dr. Dino Martins.
WILD CLASS is LWF’s new conservation education effort. It links conservation education as an income earner and land use within 10 participating conservancies. Each paying student helps our conservation education providers subsidise the same experience for Laikipia school pupils – and makes the offering of conservation education more financially sustainable.