Back in the field
The Tropical Biology Association was delighted to return to the field – taking 24 students to Mpala Research Centre in Kenya for four weeks this summer. For the last two years, we have been providing very successful online courses, but this was the first field course since 2019.
The students came from nineteen countries, creating a dynamic forum for sharing experiences and learning together. Indeed, our campfire sessions of “conservation in my country” were a highlight for everyone. As always, we were fortunate to have an incredible group of teachers who led practical sessions on a huge variety of topics such as freshwater systems, pollination, rangeland management, birds and acoustics. Four of the Kenyan teachers were TBA alumni who wanted to help us train the next generations of students. Students carried out their own projects, gaining important skills in research design, data analysis and presenting information. This practical, hands-on training combined with the contacts they made, will help launch the students’ careers as conservationists.
“The constant interaction we had with local researchers and the expertise they demonstrated regarding the local ecosystems they study was really inspiring.”
Akiva Topper, Israel
For the first time, our field course included an online component using the new TBA virtual learning platform. Our interactive and dynamic online modules meant students could start their learning and engagement before heading to the field.
” [the online course] was very educative and well informing. I could feel like I was at Mpala and knew it before I even arrived there.”
Karen Chiro, Zimbabwe
Students told us the skills they learnt were incredibly useful and they hope to build on them throughout their careers. A lively legacy of the course is the network the students have formed – they are still keeping in touch from their homes around the world.
“The projects taught me many new skills that are already being useful in my studies, such as managing a project and sharing it with others that might be experienced or new to the field.”
Blanche Pioger, Switzerland