Arabian oryx back from brink of extinction – CNN.com

August 5, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Wildlife

Course: Environmental Information Management Training Institute

May 13, 2011 Leave a comment

When you were little you learned very quickly why it was important that you not touch the stove at certain times. You may have learned by physically touching the stove also known as kinesthetic learning. Or you may have watched (and/or subsequently) heard when someone else touched the stove which means you used visual and auditory means of learning not to touch the stove. These different ways of learning apply just the same as a wildlife professional minus the heat unless you’re doing prescribed burns or fighting wildfires.

My strongest area for learning is kinesthetic learning. While I enjoy reading books leisurely or listening when the teachers are preaching, nothing works for me like getting out into the field to put what I’ve heard into practice to see how things connect. What better way for a wildlife career professional to gain experience that fits into their schedule than through courses often offered yearly that can help them stay up to date with current field practices or learn new ones?

One set of field courses being sponsored by the University of New Mexico and DataOne as the Environmental Information Management Training Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Being held May 23 through June 10, 2011 the courses are open to Master’s  and PhD students plus professionals who seek to enhance their data skills…and that is just saying it simply. More specifically the Institute seeks to teach its students “to effectively design, manage, analyze, visualize, and preserve data and information” by exposing potential students to “all aspects of the data life cycle: from managing data files and creating databases and web portals, through state-of-the-art analysis and visualization techniques, as well as managing, analyzing, and visualizing geospatial data.”

Composed of three courses (all must be taken) six credit hours will be earned and graduate tuition rates apply. The total for the program is $1,595.34 regardless if you are considered in state versus out-of-state. If you’re not a student at the University of Mexico, you are still welcome to apply to the program. Take note however to apply as a non-degree student before registering to the Institute, a $10  fee applies. As for housing (hopefully you’re being funded through an agency or are already a student) you will be on the search for a potential place to stay. This can be discouraging for many looking to take the course even if they already live in the state much less are coming from out-of-state. Hotels in the area run $50-75 per night but during the last week of the program on campus residence halls open up that you could stay in for $45/night. Studying from your car is not an option…unless of course your car is actually an RV.

The courses that you will be taking are as follows:

INFO 530  Environmental Information Management

INFO 532  Environmental Data Analysis and Visualization

INFO 533  Spatial Data Management in Environmental Sciences

Details for these courses will be found via the University’s website dedicated to the Institute. Each course is a week-long journey beginning at 8am and ending at 5pm Monday through Friday hosted in a computer classroom. Don’t worry; I’m sure there will be sometime in there to eat!

With the amount of data we obtain growing each day the means of organizing and being able to easily retrieve that data is important. The organizers of Databasin are aware of this and created a site centered around the collection and distribution of data for professionals in the natural resource fields (and interested parties) working with spatial data (hint: Ctrl-D).

If you’re an undergraduate you might be interested in taking the online course Info 320 Information Management for Professionals online. This (I feel) would be a great introduction and look into what you can expect if you should decide to attend the Institute.

You can  find this and other courses detailed on the Field Course Calendar that I’ve created. While at this moment the calendar only has this course check back often for new additions.

Note: There are some more facts about this Institute that I am waiting to obtain. I will update this post when I get them.

Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals

February 22, 2011 4 comments

Welcome. Are you considering continuing your education? Are you looking for courses in natural resources, forestry, fisheries, or wildlife? Then you’ve come to the right place.

As a college graduate in wildlife, I want to make sure that I’m constantly improving myself or reinforcing the skills that I have. In personal searches, I’ve found that either the price or scheduling of courses at universities are too much for me or I’m not able to pick everything up and travel to a state that has a course I’m interested in for an entire semester. In my review of potential courses I’ve found that the intensity of coursework (such as GIS) may not be something I want to pursue online thus making distance learning less of an option.

However, I’ve learned not to fret.

There are courses available to students, professors and career professionals that are set up to that are more flexible, shorter, costs less, provides housing (some), provides networking opportunities, and delivers to you the same amount of information as a semester at a university.

Of course each option (university vs. field courses) have their pros and cons. However, it is up to you to determine which course of action is best for you and your career objectives. Just know if you’re trying to make a decision about a course, you’ll have to decide quickly because seats are often limited.

So sit back and relax. As courses arise I’ll detail them on this blog along with university options in respective posts. As a collective whole you can review course availability via a calendar created just for field courses.

 

Benefits of the Senapa Road

January 15, 2011 3 comments

Developed. Developing. Third World. First World.

Each pair of words are often used to describe countries which have a high economical status versus those that do not. It makes the pressure to “succeed” greater when the world revolves around money even into the point of pricing nature also known as natural capital.

Tanzania realizes that in order to be a country with an economical presence they need to be able to connect with all their citizens so that they may advance collectively. For this, Tanzania can be proud of the initiative they are taking to provide for their citizens. A particular measure that the leadership of Tanzania hopes to pursue is by creating a new road that transverses the Serengeti National Park (Senapa). Since there are already two roads crossing the park, you may wonder what makes this road significant.

I. Potential tourism.

Tanzania enjoys a healthy tourism industry based mostly around (not exclusively)  the natural spectacle of the wildebeest migration. The creation of a partially paved road opens the means for which tourists could visit remote areas of Tanzania rich in cultural history.

II. Access to hospitals, job opportunities, schools etc.

Though Tanzania is experiencing economic growth, the country still battles poverty. The provisions that the road seeks to provide include access to easier access to hospitals in larger cities or for hospitals to be built in the smaller Musoma. Current access to smaller communities is limited because of poor roads or the lack of roads altogether.

Having served as a temp worker for a few jobs, I understand how holding a job even for a fleeting moment can make a difference. Currently, construction is being planned to begin in 2012. For anyone who may be employed (and trained) from the two small towns, these jobs are essential to assisting the agricultural based communities whose success are as wary as the climate.

In terms of education, this road could open up educational opportunities for residents of Musoma who have secondary education but lack the opportunity to consider post-secondary schooling to now have that chance. As a lifelong learner (for my short time on earth) I believe that everyone should have the means of being educated and seeking further education if they wish.

III. Travelling monies.

With the construction of this new road between Arusha and Musoma, travel is expected to increase greatly. With minerals available in Lake Victoria for the creation of batteries, the increased job market for this area isn’t the only plus. Travelers buying gas, paying for taxis/buses and perhaps paying a toll to use the road all would contribute to the monetary value that can be reaped from this road. The benefit that Tanzania will receive from an industry based in batteries is a form of natural capital and is an ecosystem service.

IV. Access to resources.

Musoma’s current existence tethers on a thread. The viability of the town is contingent on access to resources for the community’s inhabitants beyond an agricultural foundation. President Kikwete noted that one of the benefits of the road is the chance for citizens to have access to electricity and eventually cell phone service. I do not feel I would err to say that this access would also bring in clean water supplies as well, and materials to build homes that can deliver these utilities.

From these four intertwined areas I have found to be the greatest benefits from the construction of the road. The potential for Tanzania’s economy is great but at what cost? In light of the road’s proposal the benefits of the road seem to be outweighed by its cons.

<-Introduction Costs of the Senapa Road->

To Save the Serengeti Introduction

November 29, 2010 1 comment

In June of 2010, news that Tanzania (TZ) was planning the construction of a 50 km (30 mile) road through the Serengeti National Park (Senapa) was a contradiction to their recognition as a top international conservation authority by many organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, IUCN, and UNESCO. As I’ve been following this story’s development I’ve been learning of the positive and negative aspects of this road’s construction plus weighing each side. So I’ve decided to dissect the issues being addressed into five parts:

I. Benefits of the Senapa road

II. Costs of the Senapa road

III. Senapa alternatives

IV. Questions/Concerns

V. Why do I care?

By taking more than a courtesy look at the Senapa construction, I hope to present a case which reveals how the read would be harmful to the Serengeti ecosystem and citizen livelihoods in a reasonable manner without claiming gloom and doom; only potentially irreversible damage. =)

It helps to know that the word Serengeti is devolved from the Maasai word Siringet which means a vast land that runs forever or (my preferred description) “endless plains where the land meets the sky(UNC)” It is one of the largest national parks in Tanzania and the oldest (Official TZ Parks). Furthermore, TZ is home to the big 5: the lion, elephant, rhino, water buffalo and leopard. Every year hundreds of thousands of wildebeest accomapanied by eland, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and a host of predators engage in the greatest terrestrial migration able to be witnessed. The Senapa was recognized as a world heritage site as well by UNESCO for its unique cultural values.

Surrounding the Senapa are several communities which is the reason the proposed road has surfaced to connect these estranged communities to larger ones via the 2004 promise campaign promise by President Jakaya Kikwete and construction is designed to begin in 2010. With these facts in mind stay tuned for the benefits of the Serengeti National Park road construction.

 

->Benefits of the Senapa Road

Arkansas Wildlife Programs

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

The last months of the year are the times when high school students and undergraduate seniors are considering either pursuing higher education or entering the work force for some time. The decision of where you will go to school is difficult (unless you’re following family tradition) and can make a difference in who you meet plus your experiences for the next few years of your life. Furthermore, deciding what you will major in can be another obstacle. If you’re considering an environmental major the schools available to you changes greatly compared to if you are interested in majoring in business.

If you’re still in the throws of determining which school is right for you (or which have environmental majors) then I’ve recorded here all the schools in Arkansas which have majors in wildlife, fisheries, forestry, and environmental sciences. Finding information shouldn’t be difficult especially if you’re flexible and don’t mind being from Maine and attending school in California. Other states which have been completed are Alabama and Alaska that you may be interested in reviewing. The abbreviation list for understanding which degrees are available as either an undergraduate or graduate student has also been updated.

Initial credit for this information is given to the Wildlife Society. I’ve edited it to also reflect schools which have clubs for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. I plan to revisit these schools at a later time to share those which also have the professional organizations of the Society of American Forester’s and the American Fisheries Society. Being involved while your in school can assist you in developing skills (not just leadership skills) that you will utilize when you graduate from college.

So if you’re thinking about pursuing a major in wildlife, fisheries, forestry, environmental science or related sciences stay tuned for the next states who have environmentally based majors.

Trails of Zest 10-28-2010

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I’ve been outside and taken the time to think. Not that I haven’t been outside. It’s just that I’ve not participated in creative and constructive thinking as of late.

It feels more like fall now compared to earlier this month though I’m not an extreme fan of the cooler weather. [The] 70′s are my optimum temperature. I have a lot on my plate lately which seems strange considering that I don’t have a job. I am tasked with the need to find a job and figure out how to pay bills without one. So I freelance in my free time and complete surveys [though these don't bring me close to the amount needed per month]. My greatest problem however is motivation. I’ve realized that being determined and motivated do not fit together nicely [as many would like to think]. I say this because I’m determined to do something with my time and I do accomplish some things but often I don’t feel motivated. [As if the weight of rejection from another potential job is beginning to take its toll on me mentally]. I feel [at times] that it’s all a waste of time….Understand that this realization comes to me as I sit on the earth of GA looking across to SC. I’m surprised that I feel this way and I do not believe I ever would have realized it sitting in my white walled prison trying to motivate myself.

That’s why it is important to have people around who can motivate you; people who understand your dream and goals and simply will not say “do something else; it’s all money”. I hate that truth for the lie that it is to me. It’s true because the result of the work [performed at the job] is money. However it is a lie because it places me in a job that I will never love [or respect]. I believe if money is the sole reason why you’re pursuing a job or career then you’re a damned fool. [I don't have other obligations such as kids to be concerned with so the pressure of accepting a job outside of my career is not high].

I’ve known ever since I was in fourth grade that my career path salary was not high on the totem pole yet that never swayed me. I want to love what I do and do what I love….I’ve started rambling I see. A thousand apologies. My pen got carried away…

Before I forget self-motivation is possible though it can only take us so far. It is a necessary strength, however. Perhaps though I shouldn’t call it self-motivation because God motivates me [and reminds me] He’s the reason for my continued sanity [and continued drive to want to succeed]. As I cease writing this I question why I ever felt discouraged in the first place. I realize I just needed to be reminded of a few things. =)

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