Title of Grant: Exploring Geography and Innovation in Kenya. Full ID: S P-FF. Date of Funding: Spring Name: Robert Thornett.

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Title of Grant:

Exploring Geography and Innovation in Kenya Full ID: S2014-762P-FF Date of Funding: Spring 2014 Name: Robert Thornett College: Northern Virginia Email: rthornett@nvcc.edu Abstract:

This project investigates how Kenya, the cradle of humankind, has pioneered innovations to adapt its ancient geography to challenges of the modern world. Kenya was named one of Africa’s three most innovative countries by the World Economic Forum. Specifically, the project will explore on-the-ground workings of innovations adapting to distinctly Kenyan challenges including: new high tech protections of large wildlife, new dairy production technologies designed specifically for Kenya’s one million nomadic herders, and solutions for widespread pollution in Rift Valley lakes due to use of chemicals in Kenya’s flower industry, the largest in Africa. It informs four VCCCS Geography classes.

Anticipated Outcomes: Student benefits

1. Series of mini-lessons before and after the project

-For the participant’s home school this project will add tremendous depth to students’ knowledge about the geography, culture, and innovations of Kenya. Before, during, and after the trip the participant will conduct mini-lessons on a wide variety of project subtopics related to Kenya’s innovations in four different classes.

2. Student participation and feedback

-Students will formulate discussion questions on project topics both before and after the project. These questions may provide interview and discussion questions for local experts in Kenya and may inform their work in class including their own projects.

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3. Project website and Multimedia

-A project website with multimedia in the form of images, video, and audio collected by the instructor in Kenya will add real, tangible multimedia with the lesson they have learned. In class we will discuss this multimedia and many of these materials will become part of the instructor’s slides. The instructor shared similar information on Bolivia in Motion project (2012) on the website

boliviainmotion.wordpress.com which drew student comments and discussion. Campus and College Benefits

1. Presentations and Displays

College-wide presentations, displays, and take-home print materials will share the project findings and also be made available to all VCCS colleges. The instructor shared a similar project Bolivia in Motion with widespread bulletin board displays.

2. Project Sharing

-The instructor will seek to share information about the project through a project website (see above) and professional conferences including the American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual

conference where in 2012 the instructor presented on the topic of Bolivia’s migration patterns. He will communicate willingness and availability to give guest lectures, slide presentations, etc. in other Geography classes and also at VCCS colleges across the state e.g. New Horizons, etc.

3. There is potential for a new study abroad and/or science and technology partnership programs to begin between VCCS and government/educational/environmental institutions in Kenya.

Actual Outcomes:

1. Numerous mini-lessons were given both before and after the research trip in all of the participant's classes. East African Geography, wildlife poaching and security, Masai tribal culture, the Physical Geography of Kenya's Rift Valley lakes, Kenya's colonial history and modern politics, and the role of foreign actors and cartels in illegal wildlife trade were discussed in detail. Students heard the results of interviews and saw photos of the people interviewed including a Ph.D. Senior Rhino Scientist and a Cartographer both interviewed at Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters. Students also saw images from the trip of the Great Rift Valley region, Masai Mara National Park, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Kibera slum, and capital Nairobi. Kenya also became an example used in over a dozen different lessons such as the Great Rift Valley in plate tectonics, nomadic seasonal migration and food systems, and savanna and semi-arid climates.

2. Campus-wide presentations

In addition, the participant created a 90-minute slide presentation "Kenya's Wildlife Wars: How the birthplace of the safari has become a laboratory for innovation to protect its national heritage from ivory and rhino poachers." This presentation was given campus-wide at two different campuses in the theater drawing students from a variety of classes including Sociology, Economics, History as well as Geography. The presentation was advertised across both campuses by the central activities office and was used as an extra credit option for at least five different classes outside of Geography.

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Kenya's Wildlife Wars presentation announcement

http://www.nvcc.edu/calendar/EventList.aspx?fromdate=11/1/2014&todate=11/30/2014&display=Mon th&type=public&eventidn=7131&view=EventDetails&information_id=22377

3. Geography Conference presentation

In March 2014 the participant also presented a paper at the Annual Conference of the American

Association of Geographers (AAG) in Tampa: "Challenges of Wildlife Poaching in Kenya" on a panel about Wildlife Conservation and Management. The presentation was very well received with a very high number of questions from the audience.

http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=60827 4. New Horizons

The participant will present this presentation above "Kenya`s Wildlife Wars" at VCCS New Horizons conference this spring including ways that teachers can incorporate Kenya`s issues into their classes. 5. Article in progress

The participant is currently working on an article on Kenya's Wildlife Wars to be published in an online journal. In writing the article the participant is consulting people interviewed during the grant trip including Dr. Benson Okita, Cartographer Paul Hongo and Public Relations specialist Paul Udoto of Kenya Wildlife Service.

Discussion and Critique:

In this project the participant delved very deep into the issue of wildlife poaching of ivory and rhino horn by seeing parks in Kenya and interviewing a Senior Rhino Scientist Benson Okita who turned out to be a treasure trove of information, having 20 years experience with wildlife issues. Dr.Okita discussed the logic of the new RFID microchips implanted in rhino horns, the use of wildlife drones, and numerous park-specific issues such as open-border parks, dealing with conflicts between villagers and animals. In the interview he also discussed in great depth the changing nature of poaching cartels, the shifting tribes involved, the key role of Chinese smugglers and Somali militants, the corruption within Kenya's government and even within the Kenya Wildlife Service in which he worked and in which the interview was held. We also discussed poaching cartel network linkages, transport, logistical, and financial aspects of poaching, and techniques the government is using to track down poachers.

One of the key gaps that remains in this study of poaching and wildlife security is how the government will react to the success of new technologies being tried out now in Kenya, since it is believed that members of Kenya's government are part of the poaching cartels themselves. For example just as drones had proven successful in a test run in one park Ol Pejeta, Kenya’s government issued a ban on all drones.

The participant was also able to fulfill the goal of observing new technologies for storing and disseminating camel milk an emerging industry combining nomadic camel herds with modern dairy technology. Pasteurized camel milk is a niche market but quite widespread thanks to the

entrepreneurship of a small company Vital Farms which networks numerous small nomadic herders into a system in which losses of milk are greatly decreased.

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The participant also observed the environmental connections between flower farming industry around Lake Naivasha and surrounding slum areas which house workers. The flower farms, which turn out to be run largely by Indian Kenyans, attract migrant workers from around the region and the participant drove through the neighborhoods in which workers live, which are ragged and destitute in contrast to the beauty of the flower farms themselves. Both the farms and the slums are geographically situated very close to the banks of Lake Naivasha, with many hippos in it, but the major source of pollution is human effluent rather than farm toxins.

Evaluation:

1. Student progress

-Students were tested extensively on Kenya and East African issues including the Great Rift Valley formation, Swahili language family, species found in Kenya, human-wildlife issues, tribes of Kenya, Kenyan tourism industry, Islamic terrorism issues, etc.

-Students attended the 90 minute grant project presentation "Kenya`s Wildlife Wars" and submitted several pages of summary notes on the presentation for class credit. In addition, many students campus-wide from other classes received extra credit for attending and summarizing the presentation.

-Research from the project provided numerous examples of Geography concepts across classes in particular units on Biogeography and Political Geography. Innovations studied in the project such as microchips in rhino horns, "aerial ranger" drones, and wildlife laws became examples of the interactions of human-environment interaction including many pictures from the trip.

Rhino horn and ivory smuggling issues became a very detailed and illustrative example of transnational issues involving NGOs and multiple governments. Students saw how Chinese government, World Wildlife Federation, Kenyan Government, and other NGOs work together to fight poaching. Students also saw first hand the causes of poaching including graphic visualizations of how rhino horn is sold in Vietnam and real examples of Chinese ivory carvings in class.

2. Research progress

-In this trip the participant visited and interviewed numerous experts in Kenya especially

-Dr. Benson Okita - Senior Scientist with Kenya Wildife Service. 2 hour interview and still working with Dr. Okita now on an article.

-Paul Hongo, Cartographer with Kenya Wildlife Service. 2 hour interview and saw the cartographic studio and received several wildlife map printouts from Mr. Hongo. Discussed how mapping plays key role in protecting wildlife.

This research resulted in a paper presented at the annual conference of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in April 2014 "Challenges of Wildlife Poaching in Kenya"

http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=60827 3. Study abroad

-The participant evaluated extensively the potential for study abroad in Kenya including options for routes, site destinations, and best seasons for wildlife viewing. Based on these findings the participant is

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working with the home campus study abroad office which is actively seeking to expand to develop plans for study abroad in the future.

Dissemination:

1. Based on the grant project research and findings the participant created a 90-minute slide presentation "Kenya's Wildlife Wars: How the birthplace of the safari has become a laboratory for innovation to protect its national heritage from ivory and rhino poachers." This presentation was given campus-wide at two different campuses in the theater drawing students from a variety of classes

including Sociology, Economics, History, ESL as well as Geography. It also attracted audience members of the Black Student Alliance. The presentation was advertised across both campuses by the central

activities office and was used as an extra credit option for at least five different classes outside of Geography.

Kenya's Wildlife Wars presentation announcement

http://www.nvcc.edu/calendar/EventList.aspx?fromdate=11/1/2014&todate=11/30/2014&display=Mon th&type=public&eventidn=7131&view=EventDetails&information_id=22377

2. In March 2014 the participant also presented a paper at the Annual Conference of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in Tampa: "Challenges of Wildlife Poaching in Kenya" on a panel about Wildlife Conservation and Management. The presentation was very well received with a very high number of questions from the audience.

http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=60827

3. The participant is currently working to give this presentation at New Horizons in the sprint and other VCCS colleges including Germanna.

4. Article in progress

The participant is currently working on an article on Kenya's Wildlife Wars to be published in an online journal. In writing the article the participant is consulting people interviewed during the grant trip including Dr. Benson Okita, Cartographer Paul Hongo and Public Relations specialist Paul Udoto of Kenya Wildlife Service.

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