A male Marico sunbird. Photo by Bradley Bergstrom

Training and Education

"2009 was a record-breaking year for numbers and diversity of visiting scientists working on Mpala. Throughout the year, the centre and the campsite were buzzing with discussions ranging from species conservation and natural resource management to evolution of ants and how best to tackle Mt. Kenya or catch a gazelle. We look forward to an equally busy 2010, full of questions, discoveries and important answers."
- Dr. Margaret Kinnaird, Executive Director of MRC

In 2009 alone, Mpala hosted 121 independent researchers representing 40 different institutions and organizations from around the world. We also hosted 180 student groups from the University of Nairobi, McGill University, Cornell University, Leeds University, Princeton University, University of Florida, University of British Columbia, and Rutgers University.

Course Highlights

* Three courses on geographic information systems (GIS) software were held at Mpala in early 2009. Twenty people from the Kenyan Wildlife Service, local Maasai organizations, and the local non-profit community participated.

* Six students attended Princeton University's annual semester-long field course for undergraduates on Mpala.

* Approximately thirty undergraduate students from Columbia University participated in a two-week long field course on behavioral ecology and conservation.

* Ph.D. students from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of Princeton University and Computer Science Department of University of Illinois participated in a field course on population biology.

Workshop Highlights

* A workshop on human-elephant conflict was held by the Kenyan Wildlife Service and Cambridge University through the Darwin Initiative. The workshop focused on ways to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Kenya and a new comprehensive five-year Kenya National Elephant Strategy. The workshop was attended by over sixty representatives from Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, Kenya, and the United Kingdom.

* Holistic Management International held two workshops at Mpala for participants from the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Mpala Ranch and Research Centre, regional NGOs, and neighboring ranches and communities.

* Enhanced Livelihoods in the Mandera Triangle Project and the Savory Institute held a workshop at Mpala on Holistic Management for participants from Ethiopia and Kenya.

* Mpala researchers held a workshop on monitoring rangeland health where they worked on designing a comprehensive monitoring program. The program, detailed in a manual, can be used by managers to determine whether they are meeting their long-term management objectives such as forage production or minimizing soil erosion.

An Mpala researcher giving a presesntation to the community. Photo by Heather Larkin.
Event Highlights

* The International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIR) brought 17 editors from major U.S. news outlets to visit Mpala and learn more on issues of wildlife conservation and human-wildlife conflict, poverty and land degredation, water shortages, and climate change. The group included editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, BBC World Service, and CNN.

* The first Discovery Day was held at the Mpala Research Centre in early August 2009. Sponsored by Denver Zoo, the event brought together members of the Laikipia community and Mpala researchers to learn about and discuss the research that goes on at Mpala. Visitors heard five-minute "speed talks" given by researchers and then had the opportunity to go out into the field with researchers to see what they do at a more hands-on level.