Fall 2015 Origins Field School Begins!

|Fall 2015 Origins Field School Begins!

Students arrived in Kenya and traveled by plane to Mpala Ranch in central Kenya, Lakipea county. Here we are staying at the Mpala Research Centre where we get 3 hot meals a day, tea time with cake, hot showers, and laundry service! On top of it all we get to see African wildlife!

Second flight - Arrival to Mpala Ranch

Second flight – Arrival to Mpala Ranch

Taylor and Mattia have just gotten off the plane and are ready for an adventure.

Taylor and Mattia have just gotten off the plane and are ready for an adventure.

Our tents

Our tents

photo 2

view across the river from our tents (there is also an electric fence surrounding the camp).

view across the river from our tents (there is also an electric fence surrounding the camp).

Baboons in the trees across the river

Baboons in the trees across the river

Lunch Time

Lunch Time

Ken, Meredith, Tristan, and Taylor relax by the fire for the evening.

Ken, Meredith, Tristan, and Taylor relax by the fire for the evening.

At Mpala, students began their studies with the Ecology module, taught by Dr. Dino Martins. While going over the syllabus in class, we were happily interrupted by the news that some lions have been spotted in the area so we set out in our vehicles to find them. We saw a male lion in the distance but, it did not want to have its photo taken. When leaving the area (we are in our vehicle the whole time), we came across this little guy and two of its siblings.

Lion cub walking across the road.

Lion cub walking across the road.

Afterwards we continued to drive on and saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, water buffalos, gazelles, impalas, and more antelope species. This was a great day!

A herd of elephants

A herd of elephants

Zebras- startled by our vehicle.

Zebras- startled by our vehicle.

Jackal....i think it looks like a fox.

A jackal….i think it looks like a fox.

A giraffe near camp

A giraffe near camp

Kudu

Kudu

On Saturday, we took a break and went to the town of Nanyuki. Here we shopped for souvenirs and took a picture at the equator.

Being tourists. :)

Being tourists. 🙂

The following day the students were back to their studies. Dr. Martins took us on a hike to check out the landscape as students began their study of the African savannah.

Meg, Meredith, Laura, and Tristan take a break on a hike to a small hill called Mu Kenya.

Meg, Meredith, Laura, and Tristan take a break on a hike to a small hill called Mu Kenya.

The view from Clifford Hill

The view from Clifford Hill

Brian

Brian

Picture from the hilltop with Professor Dino Martins

Picture from the hilltop with Professor Dino Martins

A few decided to climb up to the top of this rock

A few decided to climb to the top of this rock

The view from the top of Clifford Hill

Taylor and Meg relax and enjoy the view from the top.

Meg and Laura

Meg and Laura

Meredith

Meredith

Abel is careful to not lose his hat

Abel is careful to not lose his hat

Jeanette holds what is left of a dung beetle's nest. The beetles were likely dug up and eaten by a mongoose.

Jeanette holds what is left of a dung beetle’s nest. The beetles were likely dug up and eaten by a mongoose.

Pam and Maria did not like the dung beetle's nest.

Pam and Maria did not like the dung beetle’s nest.

Monday morning we learned the sad news that the lion cubs were killed. Apparently,  the male lion we had seen had killed these cubs so that he could mate with the females of the pride. This is a common act in which a lion (and other animals) will kill cubs that are not its own offspring.

We next moved on to see hippos.  If YOU are interested, you can watch the hippos through the live camera by going to Mpala Live.

The class quietly watches the hippos across the pool

The class quietly watches the hippos across the pool

Can you spot the sleeping baby hippo?

Can you spot the sleeping baby hippo?

Stay tuned for more adventures!

 

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:41+00:00 September 14th, 2015|Fall 2015|Comments Off on Fall 2015 Origins Field School Begins!

About the Author:

Hi I'm Linda. I'm the Resident Academic Director for the Origins Field School. In addition, I'm a geologist. I have been working in the Turkana Basin since 2011 and am interested in reconstructing the past landscape on which our ancestors evolved.