Make The Connection

Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘Wildlife Research: Stationed in South Africa’

March 3, 2016 – by Ohio Wesleyan

Amanda Marshall '16 used an OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant to conduct research in South Africa. Her trip included helping to build a classroom at a daycare/preschool. (Photos courtesy of Amanda Marshall ’16)

Name: Amanda Marshall '16

Major: Zoology

Minor: Environmental Science

Hometown: Centerville, Ohio

Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Wildlife Research: Stationed in South Africa”

Marshall spent four weeks at the Karongwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa assisting a Global Village International (GVI) research team in collecting data on the Big 5 (cheetahs, lions, elephants, leopards, and hyenas) and their resident predators. This included recording the numbers of animals encountered as well as their gender, age, location, feeding activity, and other behavior.

Lessons Learned: “Ever since I could talk, it has been my dream to go to Africa. I secretly started saving up money when I was 16. Ohio Wesleyan’s travel opportunities were a big reason why I applied here. My application essay was about how Ohio Wesleyan could help me live out my dream of going to Africa.

Marshall worked at a South African game reserve. She anticipates a career in wildlife conservation.

“I spent about a year researching, writing, and planning my Theory-to-Practice Grant proposal. I originally wrote a proposal to do wildlife rehabilitation in Zimbabwe. I found out in November that my proposal got accepted. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

“However, after contacting the organization that works with the center, I was informed that they would not take me. I am a Type 1 diabetic, and they told me that I would be too much of a liability and they could not take me with good conscience. … A lovely lady from the wildlife rehabilitation organization contacted their sister organization, GVI, and talked to them. They found one program that was willing to take me. ... I was going to Africa! …

“Something I also really like about my experience at GVI is that along with wildlife conservation work, they do community work at the local village as well. It is hard to care about the environment when there are struggling people in poverty. At Karongwe they do community work at schools and the local kresh daycare/preschool.) Karongwe has built the kresh flushing toilets. ... While I was there, we finished building them a new classroom and started building a jungle gym. … I miss Karongwe dearly. I think I will always feel like I left part of my heart in Africa.

Marshall helped to collect data on cheetahs, lions, elephants, leopards, hyenas as well as their predators.

“I plan on interning at the Columbus Zoo in their Congo area after graduating. I love primates and ultimately would love to work in primate sanctuaries and orphanages. I love programs that have the goal of releasing animals into the wild. I think working in breeding programs that release populations of endangered species back into the wild would be amazing.

“Ultimately I would love to do hands-on conservation work and be on the frontlines of saving endangered wildlife.”