Educational Programs

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All of our educational programs are rooted in wildlife tracking, ecology, and culture. We work with teachers, mentors, and professors to combine our expertise in the above areas with their expertise in their academic subject matter to provide the experience you desire for your your students.

Ecology can be loosely defined as the relationship of plants and animals to their environment. The human animal has been the most successful species at achieving basic needs for survival to thrive, enabling the development of art, science, and technology, i.e. culture.

To study ecology and culture, a person needs field skills. At their root, field skills begin with naturalist knowledge. You must be able to identify what is in an environment in order to study it. As such, all of our teaching and learning includes some degree of the following topics (based on the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa, FGASA, curriculum):

  1. Introduction to guiding in the natural environment
  2. Creating a guided nature experience
  3. Geology
  4. Astronomy
  5. Weather and climate
  6. Basic ecology
  7. Basic taxonomy
  8. Introduction to the biomes of your area
  9. Botany and grasses
  10. Arthropods
  11. Amphibians
  12. Reptiles
  13. Fish
  14. Birds
  15. Mammals
  16. Animal behavior
  17. Track and sign identification and interpretation
  18. Trailing (following and finding animals)
  19. Safety and awareness of dangerous animals
  20. Conservation management and historical human habitation

Building on a firm foundation of naturalist knowledge, field skills we practice can include: survey techniques; using the scientific method and designing field experiments; data collection (including field journalling) and data analysis using mathematics, statistics, and the qualitative methods associated with anthropology and the human dimensions of culture and conservation.

For example, a recent course focused on tourism and hospitality. The safari industry in South Africa is one of the country’s biggest contributors to the economy, and guides and trackers are the backbone of the safari industry. We provided a full safari experience by guiding 20 students and their professors, in three different types of venues ranging from a tented camp, to a luxury lodge, to a bed-and-breakfast in one of the most famous townships from the Apartheid era. Students were able to observe and contribute to all aspects of venue management, for a behind-the-scenes perspective. They were given reflective assignments and team-building activities by their professors, all while viewing Africa’s famous and exciting wildlife, and exploring the history and culture. For a more detailed description of how we integrated our expertise, see the Educational Adventure Program for University Students example page.

We also use technology to discover and record new things about our environment. In particular, we use: global positioning systems (GPS) and mapping software to record animal presence and behavior;  remotely triggered camera traps to document wildlife presence, number, and behavior; and digital photography to use photos to tell stories. For a more detailed description of how we can integrate technology into our programs, please use the search box at the top of the page to search on the keywords “Hopkinton” and/or “Bow” to read the series of blog posts written by students on the Hopkinton and Bow High Schools in Africa (from New Hampshire, USA).

Please explore the rest of our website and subscribe to our blog, join us on social media, and feel free to Contact Us for more information on an existing program or to develop a custom program.rhino track cast

 

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