Greetings everyone! Welcome to the Fall 2019 Origins Field School. I am Winfred Mbogo, the resident academic director for this program and together with Medina Lubisia, the TA, we will be leading the students through this exhilarating journey. All students met last week in Nairobi and spent a couple of nights at the Wildebeest Eco Camp while taking tours around Nairobi. We visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where they rescue orphaned elephant calves. We also visited the Giraffe Center where we saw and fed Rothschild giraffes. Our final place to tour was the National Museum of Kenya and we were very fortunate to view the fossilized remains of the almost complete skeleton of Homo erectus, commonly known as “Turkana Boy” dated 1.6 million years ago. The fossil was discovered by Kamoya Kimeu and our very own director Richard Leakey at Lake Turkana.
We arrived at the Mpala Research Centre in Nanyuki where the students have been going through the Ecology module led by Dr. Dino Martins. He did an introduction lecture of the module and later on accompanied the students on a game drive and hike at Clifford which is within the facility. Students have also learned about the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment (KLEE) among other things such as the African Savannah vegetation with a focus on Mpala and the interaction between wildlife, livestock and ecosystems as instructed by David Hewett, the Mpala Ranch Manager, Kimani Ndung’u and Dr. Kimuyu respectively.
Some of the animals that we have seen during the game drives at Mpala.
Photo credit goes to Acacia Leakey and Keely Winter. Stay tuned for more stories to come as the students continue to learn and discover new things.