Tropical Biology and Sustainability in Kenya
The EEB Department (in collaboration with the School of Engineering, the Program in African Studies, Columbia University and Kenyan institutions) offers a spring semester in Kenya for juniors. As with the Panama Program, four courses are taken in sequence and involve total immersion in the tropics. We have chosen Kenya as our Old World tropics site because of its rich variety of ecosystems and animals, and the presence of the Mpala Research Centre (MRC)—a facility for scientific research, education, and training in central Kenya, emphasizing environmental sciences, biodiversity conservation, and natural resources management. The courses taught during spring 2014 will include Ecology and Conservation on African Landscapes, Natural History of Mammals, Field Ecohydrology, Biology of African Animals and Ecosystems and Tropical Agriculture.
In the previous year, aside from studying animal predation and habitats, learning field techniques, understanding the importance of ecosystem restoration, and experimenting with fashioning building blocks from easily available local materials, students went on safari, visited one of the several private wildlife reserves in the area, climbed Mt. Kenya, and stayed, at one point, in a group campsite run by the local Maasai.
After students complete the 'in the field' part of the course they return to campus to write up their findings, present their work at a symposium, and work intensively on their junior paper.
The April 19, 2006, Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) featured a story about the program entitled "For students in Kenya, immersion in ecology."