The Wildlife and Conservation in Kenya program is designed to expose students to several key areas of conservation science with the additional benefit of on-the-ground field research in wildlife ecology.
The areas of focus are:
Conservation in action (general programs, conflict issues, policies, and management practices),
The environment and geography of Kenya,
Ecosystem studies (acacia savanna, Rift Valley, grassland, others),
Overlap of culture and conservation, and
Challenges of conserving and managing wildlife.
Go on an African safari this Winter Break!
Learn about wildlife conservation in Kenya and experience the incredible diversity of its wildlife and landscapes.
Due to the sensitive nature of the region, this group's size will be limited, so we suggest you submit an application online sooner rather than later. Read more about Academic Director Ryan Valdez's research and how this program began in an article recently published by Mason Research. An engaging exploration of Kenya's vast and diverse ecosystems, this course will put you in close proximity to some incredible and charismatic wildlife.
Participants will have an incredible experience viewing wildlife, while learning about current challenges facing terrestrial megafauna that include the classic big five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhino). We will accomplish this by visiting multiple national parks, meeting key conservation biologists, and being introduced to a wide range of current wildlife management issues. Here is a list of some of the places we will go:
At both the applied and academic level, topics will include the conservation, biology, and behavior of species; landscapes and the conservation of protected and non-protected areas; human-wildlife conflicts; and the complexities of community-level interactions.
Credits Offered (students will select one course for 3 credits):
Biology (BIOL) 440: Field Biology
Environmental Science and Policy (EVPP) 490: Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy
Integrative Studies (INTS) 399: Study Abroad
Geography and Geoinformation Science (GGS) 399: Special Topics in Geography and Geoinformation Science
Participating as a graduate student in this course is possible but requires additional work on the student side and student must have permission from their Academic Advisor and your department head. There are additional academic components required to earn graduate credit and you must talk with the Academic Director for approval.
Eligibility & Prerequisites
This program is open to all undergraduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University. Members of the general public and non-students are also welcome to participate. Note: participants must be able to endure long intervals of using ground transportation (safari vehicles) in addition to spending hours out in the field and hiking across flat landscapes. Due to the nature of the program, space is very limited. Application Checklist
Accommodations range from guest houses, cottages, to tented camps. None of the facilities will have air conditioning (though it is not necessary), and at times hot water and electricity will be limited, but always accessible.
Program Cost (Winter 2018): $4957
Tuition (3 credits)
Guided tours and field experiences
International Travel Insurance
Recommended malaria prevention medications
Late evening arrival in Nairobi. Transport to facility in Nairobi outskirts.
Get acclimated to Nairobi; visit shopping areas to get necessary supplies and visit wildlife related facilities in the area.
Leave for environmental research sites near Mt. Kenya.
Stay at environmental research sites near Mt. Kenya.
Leave for hotel/guest house near Lake Nakuru
Rest day or visit to Nakuru National Park
Leave for Masai Mara
Return to Nairobi outskirts
Program ends; Evening departures
*Instructors reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed. Syllabus available upon request.
**Students should plan to depart the US one day prior to the start date of the program.
***Most flights will arrive back in the US one day after the end date of the program.
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.