We are now in Ileret, which is on the east side of Lake Turkana. We will be here for 7 weeks of the field school!
After a day of settling in to their new home, the students were ready to continue their ecology module. Professor Dino Martins took the students on a late afternoon walk just outside the compound to view the different vegetation that grows in this area. Ileret is much dryer than Laikipia, and we expect different vegetation to grow here.
The students first task at Ileret was to measure Indigofera spinosa plants inside and just outside the compound. By comparing both the height of the plants and the number of seed pods, we can see just how much grazing effects the plants outside of the compound that are open to all animals in this area.
When not out in the field, students enjoyed the various ecological and evolutionary topics with Professor Martins in the classroom.
Our first adventure away from the compound occurred on Wednesday with a trip to Sibiloi National Park to view the beautiful desert rose plant along with other vegetation.
The students were assigned to measure the desert rose, the tortoise of desert plants. It only grows at 1 millimeter per year! By measuring the height and width of these plants, their age can be estimated.
For the dry season, Ileret has been receiving an unusual amount of rain since we arrived. Normally it hardly rains here in January and February but we had a large storm system pass over us our first few days here.
Lucky for us, the storms have cooled down the temperature, which is normally around 38 degrees Celsius (or 100 degrees Fahrenheit) this time of year! However, this did make part of our hike in Sibiloi a bit muddy, but the students seemed to find it more entertaining than troublesome.
To wind down from class, the students visited Lake Turkana for the first time. Our own Lake Turkana is the world’s largest desert lake!
As the ecology modules nears the end, students are busy preparing for their final examination and presentation. They have put a lot of hard work into this module and we are proud of what they have accomplished so far.