I received a Cater Society of Junior Fellows grant to participate in the Washington College Summer Program in Tanzania led by Dr. Shad.
I studied conservation and land protection issues during my trip. Tanzania is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Great Rift Valley.
Forty percent of the country is under some form of land protection, restricting human settlement and access to valuable resources for Tanzania’s rapidly growing population. Hundreds of thousands of Maasai and rural farmers have been displaced from their lands and recieve none of the tourist revenue that these national parks generate. During my time in Tanzania, I was able to visit several national parks and Maasai villages, as well as schools and community projects in the city of Arusha.
The most important thing I learned during this trip was the significance of humans as part of their environment, rather than a separate entity. Conservation efforts that protect land and wildlife at the expense of the people who depend upon it will never be successful.