Thursday, May 31, 2012

Camp Life

After a few initial logistical snafus (LCD projectors too weak for the African sun, internet connectivity, and just getting everyone oriented, hydrated, and "sorted" as we say here), we are happily ensconced in our new home. Spirits are high, the food is delicious, both lectures and fieldwork are going well. Tomorrow (Friday) the students visit nearby D'kar San Cultural Center, and Saturday the first half of the group will run a practical GPS course while the second-half has a surprise field trip. Stay tuned next week to hear what the surprise is!

Thakadu Game Ranch Headquarters and restaurant The Rampant Aardvark, source of the occasional ice cream or coke

Home sweet home

Laundry the old-fashioned way- doubles as a badminton net on Sundays off

Mess tent and home for lectures

Hydration is super important in the bush-- and easy given our 1000-liter tank pumped straight from the well (and very safe to drink!)

Two showers (with hot water- see donkey boiler on right), flush toilets, and a washing station, made for UT out of locally sourced materials

Canvas safari-style tents, approved by Hank

Hacky-sack (pictured here), badminton, and frisbee are current favorite relaxation activities

Field Work

The first few days of camp were filled with orientation activities, a site tour, and safety lectures. Our first proper week of hard-core fieldwork commenced Monday, and focused on vegetation assessment suitable for environmental monitoring and rangeland management. Students learned how to work vegetation plots and transects, as well as to assess canopy density and ground cover. Not so easy under the African sun and with all sorts of thorny plants, but everyone did quite well.

 Identifying and measuring structural characteristics of very thorny vegetation

Plants bite here -- thorns of the nasty Acacia erioloba

Part of Team Turbo Bush measuring heights along the transect

Part of Team Bush Bosses working Plot 1

Estimating stem counts for shrubs

Student Group Photo

Botswana Study Abroad 2012
Back Row, left to right: Hank, Courtney, Dan, Kelsey, Aimee, Sam, Matt
Front Row, left to right: Mia, Lalini, Emilie, Jaclyn, Tori

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arrived Safely

Hey everybody!

The 2012 study abroad program in Botswana has officially begun. We have arrived in Ghanzi (although Lalini unfortunately was delayed, but will be here tomorrow) and have begun the program at Thakadu Bush Camp. Today we introduced course topics, went for a walk to get familiar with the Botswana environment, and got into our tented camp routine.

We will post pictures and more news as the program moves forward.

Parents, the student phones are all set up and available for the students. You are also welcome to call the student phones directly (numbers listed in previous post).

Cheers here from Botswana!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Botswana Phone & Emergency Numbers

Calling from the United States to Botswana:
011 - US exit code, which must be dialed first for all international calls made from USA or Canada.
267 - Country code for Botswana.
US to Botswana international dialing format: 011 + 267 + phone number

Student Phones:
We have bought two student phones, which will be shared freely by all students. Please give these phone numbers to your parents so they can reach you from time to time. Please also tell them that the Botswana network is not as reliable as the networks in the United States. The Botswana network will go down from time to time, but usually not for periods longer than a day or two.

Student phone #1: 75708877
Student phone #2: 72471346

Emergency numbers:
We will have a satellite phone in case of emergencies. This phone is only switched on between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Botswana time and will ONLY be used for emergencies. You can also call Thoralf or Thomas in case of emergencies, if needed.

Satellite phone # 00 881631627587

Thoralf (instructor): 72670836
Thomas (teaching assistant): 76473080
Emergency email: