Recent Posts

June 15, 2013

I don’t like saying goodbye to the Boundary Waters.  I’ve only had to do it twice in my life, but each time has been dreadful.  Yet on our last day, each of us were forced to bid the Waters farewell. To me, the Boundary Waters represent freedom from the daily grind, from the unnatural civilization mankind has made for itself.  The wilderness has its dangers and struggles, but also has a way of simplifying a person’s life and providing a sense of mental clarity. For the entire week of this course, all that mattered was how we were going to…

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June 14, 2013

More data…

It is a good day as usual, the morning birds woke us up and they are singing as we have our breakfast. The morning feels fresh as I look through the landscape of Laikipia, the acacia trees standing there and the long different grass species wagging around gracefully. All the way to the field we meet tens of elephants grazing and browsing unaware and undisturbed by our presence, the impalas jumping along the road, the birds flying in front of the car and the zebras staring at us. How beautiful nature is!!! Do you think you can count ants on…

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June 13, 2013

Waking up to the whistling sound of the river flowing and the singing of the birds, is a good way to start the day.  “Every time an antelope wakes up, it knows that it has to be faster than the lion so that it wont be eaten, and when the lion wakes up it has to run faster than the antelope so that it doesn’t have to die of starvation” …Beryl gave the refreshing morning reflection with this quote, while Leah 
described to us the species for the day …the cheetah. 
Its great to listen to people’s ideas about mutualistic relationships of…

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June 12, 2013

For the last two days students have been quantifying whether elephants forage on trees more in burned sites than in unburned sites.  Two students’ blogs are included here from Monday and Tuesday. Monday - Hi, the Goshen College fraternity, my name is Erick Omollo, one of the Kenyan university students who got the opportunity to be part of your students field research study in Kenya. As I write to you now, we have just finished our lunch break. As usual we woke up early enough and then had our delicious breakfast, the time during which we also had the morning reflection presented…

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June 11, 2013

Crossing The Border

As a direct result of the ice, our plans for the Boundary Waters changed daily.  Instead of heading straight North on our first day, we were forced to push East as the ice permitted to get as close to Stuart Lake as possible. We never intended to take the route we did, but our sixth day offered a chance to do one of the things that was along originally planned path. The Canadian border runs right through Lax La Croix, a massive lake that we originally intended reach on our first day, follow it North and then East.  Just over…

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June 10, 2013

When I awoke on our fifth day in the Boundary Waters, I knew it was a day to make up for lost time.  The barrier between us and the next portage had melted into the lake, and it was time to put a significant number of miles behind us. Of the eight miles covered, roughly three miles were portage trails.  There were five trails that we needed to hit, three of which were between a half-mile and a mile long. Navigating and orienteering are crucial skills in the Boundary Waters.  Each of the students in my group was taught how…

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June 9, 2013

As I sit writing this, the light breeze blows the canvas tent where we eat all of our meals and cools the air, in spite of the equatorial sun. We are all sitting in the shade, enjoying our “calm before the storm,” or rather a few hours of free time before the week begins. Saturday morning started out with time to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We followed with a short talk about animal safety (hyenas and leopards are a small threat compared to elephants), and a warning against slapping flies on our neck. While it may seem…

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June 8, 2013

Field work

Our group woke up to another beautiful morning at the Mpala River Camp where birdcalls are numerous and constant. Sleeping in a tent and hearing these birds in the morning made it surprisingly easy for me to wake up by 6:30 this morning. We started our morning routine with a reflection from Hannah (one of the students from the University of Nairobi) and Mandy gave us some new interesting information about giraffes. Then we drove along the dirt road away from the river camp to start some data collection in the field. Duncan, who has done ongoing research with Ryan,…

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June 7, 2013

The 2013 Kenya course in Conservation and Research Methods in Savannas is underway!  All the students arrived safely in Nairobi on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  Will and Ali get the award for most determined travelers after weathering a 10 hour delay in Amsterdam.  They arrived Wed morning in time for a shower before joining us to head north to Laikipia! In addition to the 6 students from Goshen College – four students from Kenya are participating in the class too.  Eric and Hannah, two Kenyan undergraduates from the University of Nairobi, met us at the Mennonite Guest House on Wed….

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June 7, 2013

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 Our first day at Mpala Research Center was a rich experience, every minute holding new excitement as we got to know each other and the place we will be calling home for the next few weeks. We woke up in our tents at the Ewaso River Camp to a morning full of light and life. Birdsong filled the air, and for many of us these songs were entirely new. Since we had arrived after dark the evening before, we got out first glimpse of the camp and the muddy river it sits just above, as well…

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