Friday, July 7, 2017

One last group photo

As is tradition for the program, one last group photo along with Daryl and Thoralf.

Art activities in Maun!

During our last couple of days in Maun we participated in activities that included basket weaving with a local women's cooperative and beading with Milton, a local artisan. Photos for beading with Milton are by Emree Weaver.

Starting to weave baskets.

The group working on their baskets with some help.

Milton shows the group the beading process.

Everyone focused on beading.

More beading.



Milton displaying the technique to make a beaded flower.

The finished products.

The group with Milton.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Re a leboga (many thanks) from Botswana!

UT Study Abroad Botswana 2017 has come to a close. The majority of students departed Maun yesterday for their respective destinations. Some have headed off to travel in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zanzibar, while others will be headed back home to Texas.

Many many thanks to our awesome students and to everyone involved in making the past six weeks an incredible and enjoyable experience.

We would like to give thanks to the great people and organizations that made this trip possible:

Thakadu Bush Camp
 Thanks to Jeanette, her family, and their staff for their gracious hospitality during our time in Ghanzi.

For running our base camps in Ghanzi and Maun, and for providing their guidance and knowledge while on safari in CKGR and Khwai. Thanks to Colin, Daryl, Zebra, and the rest of the Kitso staff.

For months of planning, advertising, and endless support.

Lastly, thanks to the UT Department of Geography & the Environment for their continued support in this program.

We will also post photos from some of our art making activities in Maun shortly. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Student Presentations 8

While at Camp Kitso in Maun we finished the student presentations for the program with topics related to community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) and livelihood strategies in the Okavango Delta.

Ke presented on the role of basket production for providing livelihoods in the Okavango.

Julianne presented on the impact of veterinary fences on wildlife and livestock production in Botswana. Elizabeth even provided cue cards to the class to facilitate discussion.

Katie resented on the role of CBNRM in the Okavango Delta as a modernization tool and its potential influences on traditional livelihoods in the region.

Alisha presented on the role of CBNRM in providing poverty alleviation in northern Botswana.

Guest Lectures in Maun

To finish off the program we had a series of guest lectures related to ecotourism and ecosystem monitoring by experts and specialists based in Maun. We even got a chance to catch dragonflies and damselflies in the Boro river next to Camp Kitso with a local dragonfly expert, Elmar.

Local tourism entrepreneur Tshepiso presented on the role of tourism in Botswana and the numerous parks and reserves in the country.

Chris presented on an ecotourism labeling scheme developed by his team. Originally intended to be optional, the specifications of their ecotourism labeling scheme has since become required by lodges and tourism operators in the country.

Janna, Julianne, Zach, Chad, and Janna ventured into the floodplain looking for dragonflies.

Janna coming back to shore with a dragonfly caught in her net.

One of the common dragonflies we caught, held properly by the wings.

Everyone gathered around Elmar as he discussed the role of dragonflies as bioindicators of ecosystem health.

Student Presentations 7

While on safari in Khwai, we had student presentations related to the wildlife of the Okavango delta and the implications of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in the Okavango.

Ryan presented on the species diversity of the Okavango, with a total of 1,300 pants, 71 fish, 33 amphibians, 64 reptiles, 444 birds, and 122 mammals identified in the region.

Jakki presented on the influence of elephant herbivory and fire on savanna woodlands of northern Botswana. Evidence of ecosystem engineering by elephants was clearly visible in the large amount of damaged and browsed trees we saw on our game drives.

Anneka presented on land use and resource conflicts in the Okavango. The Okavango Delta Management Plan, adopted in 2007, was developed in attempt to coordinate the multiple stakeholders, institutions, and policies related to the delta.

Julianne presented on strategies to minimize the impacts of crop raiding by elephants in Northern Botswana. The authors of her report suggest a payment for performance approach that compensates farmers for adopting mitigation strategies such as planting chili plants to deter crop raiding.

Ryan presented on the success of CBNRM in northern Botswana. He discussed potential approaches to increasing community involvement through broadened consulting platforms prior to CBNRM implementation.

Janna presented on some of the pros and cons of CBNRM programs in Botswana, including the inequalities in empowerment provided by CBNRM.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Camera traps in camp

We put up our game cameras in our camp in the delta to see what wildlife we had moving through our campsite during the night and while we were out on game drives during the day. We didn't have too much luck with our camera placement and missed some of the vervet monkeys we had near our campsite but we did manage to catch a close up shot of a bull elephant having a snack: