Melanie Sorenson, Minnesota Zoo Education Interpretive Naturalist, was accepted as a volunteer for the A Rocha Kenya (ARK) conservation project. The focus of this project is cross-cultural and community-based with an emphasis on science and research, practical conservation and environmental education. She will be in Kenya September-December of 2006. As the environmental education aspect of her stay, she will be working with schools in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in Watamu, a village 100km north of Mombasa. She will be helping with guided field trips to national parks, tree planting, conservation festivals, wildlife clubs, teaching environmental conservation in the local schools and conducting teacher training workshops. She will also be writing conservation curriculum on African conservation issues and will present this curriculum to local school children.
The biological portion of her volunteer experience will be in the collection of ornithological data at Mwamba Field Study Center and Bird Observatory. She will be putting up mist nets, bird ringing, removing birds and assisting with note taking and recording of all bird information 2-3 times a week to help in the Center's bird species conservation efforts. Six globally threatened bird species are found in Watamu, as well as three rare, near-endemic mammals.
The Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program awarded Melanie $1496 to help with her travel and lodging expenses while she participates in this vital conservation work.
Photos courtesy AROCHA Kenya.