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Conservation education at a local school

Community outreach and conservation education are crucial while conducting wildlife research in a national park.

My adviser Dr. Jessica Rothman prioritizes training and education in conservation issues in Uganda and one of her previous efforts was conducting primate conservation sessions at a primary school called Green Circle School in Fort Portal, Uganda. As part of broader impacts of my 2015-2016 NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG), I re-established this connection with Green Circle and led several primate diversity and conservation classes with Ugandan students of different levels.

Green Circle is a private school about a 40 minute drive from Kibale National Park, so the students are very book-smart about Ugandan wildlife and conservation by the time they reach Primary 4 (P4). However, they do not necessarily know what all these animals look like and have minimal knowledge of some immediate threats to primates like snaring -- even though when I asked them what threatens Ugandan wildlife, students knew “encroachment” and “deforestation.” Bringing a projector to sessions and showing students pictures and videos of all the primates that Kibale National Park has to offer, as well as going through and discussing threats to primates, seemed to go over very well with students and teachers.

Showing P3 students images and videos of Ugandan primates.

The P4 science teacher talks about habitat encroachment during our discussion with students of threats to nonhuman primates.

P5 and P6 students excited after a great discussion about Ugandan primate diversity and conservation!

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