UD Embarks on New Study Abroad to Cambodia, Vietnam

December 18, 2012 under CANR News

January 2013 marks the beginning of an exciting journey for 12 adventurous students at the University of Delaware. In their Winter Study Abroad session, these students will embark on the University’s first expedition to Cambodia and Vietnam. The goal of this 27-day program is to give students the opportunity to explore the rich wildlife and unique history of Cambodia and Vietnam, while at the same time fulfilling two Wildlife Conservation courses: Conservation of Southeast Asian Wildlife and People and Wildlife of Southeast Asia. The students will venture on this journey with an Art study abroad program fulfilling–Indigenous Arts of Southeast Asia and Documentary Photography–led by Jon Cox, assistant professor of art.

The students will be blogging about their experience throughout winter session.

“All of our [conservation] programs have a human component, and look at how humans impact conservation. South East Asia has a long history, dating back much farther than most areas of the world,” says Jacob Bowman, associate professor of wildlife ecology, and one of the faculty members leading the study abroad session.

According to Bowman, these war-torn countries offer students an unusual view on culture and wildlife, as many of the region’s mountainous areas have been mostly untouched by humans (other than guerillas) throughout the war, thereby preserving the habitats of the indigenous animals.

“There are still tigers, elephants, leopards and a lot of large mammals left in some of these remote areas, partially because for a long time it was dangerous for people to go into these areas,” Bowman explains.

The program begins in Vietnam, where students visit ancient temples of Angkor Wat, journey through the Mekong River and the dated tunnels used in the Vietnam War. Next, in Cambodia, students will experience unique wildlife and learn first-hand about conservation issues. Students will study Cambodia’s history and people by visiting various locations, including sacred temples and the historical killing fields, where large numbers of people were killed after the Cambodian Civil War. It is from this visit to the killing fields that Bowman expects students to be the most affected.

“When you go there and see a tower of skulls from all the people that have been killed, it’s a powerful experience. Hopefully students walk away realizing how bad humans can be, and how we continue to not learn from our own historical mistakes.”

A strong conservation issue to be examined is how overpopulated countries over-hunt their wildlife, and how these countries could benefit from developing an eco-friendly balance. Says Bowman, “Because it [Asia] has such a large population, it tends to overexploit its resources. There is almost no wildlife here because of the economic dilemma. People care about the wildlife, but their situation prevents them from conserving. They are just trying to feed their families and survive day to day.”

While Bowman says the University supported his choice of studying in Cambodia and Vietnam, the group is still being careful in these areas. UD students will interact with students from The Royal University of Phnom Penh and will predominantly stay in hotels throughout the trip, as it is safer than camping.

Bowman, who along with Cox, has run numerous study abroad programs to Tanzania, Australia, and Antarctica, is very excited for this new trip, and for the students. “Being able to interact with the students in a way where you can get them thinking about things cognitively instead of just strict classroom assignments is very satisfying. If something happens, the group is small enough to talk about it.” He relates a story that on one of his trips to Africa, he came face to face with a lion at night. “Stuff like that is hard to put into words, but particular things happen on every trip, and that is what builds impressions.”

What Bowman really hopes each student walks away with is a new point of view. He hopes this journey will open their eyes about the challenges of conservation on an international arena, where they will witness a form of living very different from their own.

According to Carly Costello, a UD junior majoring in animal science and taking this in-demand program, “It’s all about the first-hand experience. I’m excited to experience another culture; everyday things that we think are ordinary are so different to them, and vice versa.”

Article by Samantha Walsh, UD Wildlife Conservation and Communication junior

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CANR Study Abroad Blogs

January 10, 2012 under CANR News

Many of our CANR students are spending winter session studying abroad.  Follow them on their journeys through the blogs that they and/or their faculty leaders are writing.

Brazil http://udbrazil.blogspot.com (Plant and Soil Sciences)

Dominica http://dominica2012.wordpress.com/ (Food and Resources Economics/Geography)

Singapore and Indonesia http://agdev.anr.udel.edu/longwoodgradblog/ (Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture)

Tanzania http://udtanzania2012.blogspot.com/ (Entomology and Wildlife Ecology/Art)

In addition, there is another CANR study abroad program traveling to Ecuador and the Galpagos (Plant and Soil Sciences/Biology). For more information about University of Delaware study abroad programs, visit UD’s Institute for Global Studies website.

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Master Gardeners Win International Award

October 24, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Gail Hermenau, New Castle County Master Gardener, of Middletown, Delaware, accepts the Search for Excellence Award at the International Master Gardener Conference on behalf of the entire organization.

Three University of Delaware New Castle County Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners—Suzanne Baron (of Middletown), Gail Hermenau (also of Middletown), and Eva Rotmann-Oehler (of North Wilmington)—and Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator, Carrie Murphy, attended the International Master Gardener Conference in Charleston, West Virginia, October 11 – 14, 2011. During the conference, Gail Hermenau accepted the 2011 International Search for Excellence Award presented to the Master Gardeners for their small scale Grow your own Food themed home gardener workshops, demonstrations, and tours in the teaching gardens.

In 2009 and 2010, the New Castle County Master Gardeners responded to community need for information on how to grow your own food.  Master Gardeners worked together with their coordinator to develop opportunities that responded directly to this need.  The topics that Master Gardeners developed as part of their workshops and demonstrations included site and soil preparation, composting, plant selection, seeds and transplants, tips for growing vegetables, companion planting, beneficial insects, integrated pest management (IPM), fall gardening, harvest to table, growing berries, and putting your garden to bed.  In total, there were more than 20 events focused on the Grow your own Food theme, educating more than 300 community members.

This is the third Search for Excellence Award presented to the New Castle County Master Gardeners at the International Master Gardener Conference in just four years.

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Mexico delegation visits UD Extension

September 21, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

A delegation representing the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) recently visited the University of Delaware to get a firsthand look at how agriculture extension works in the First State and how that might be useful in establishing similar programs in Mexico.

The daylong sojourn included meeting with Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UD Cooperative Extension program leaders and county extension directors. A tour of the UD farm hosted by Scott Hopkins, farm superintendent, and a flavorful visit to the UDairy Creamy complemented morning and afternoon information sharing sessions held in Townsend Hall.

“We are delighted to have you here,” Morgan told members of the delegation. “We are always trying to promote Cooperative Extension.”

Morgan noted UD’s status as a land-grant university with a three-part mission that includes teaching, research and outreach.

“Celebrating that outreach component is very important to us,” Morgan said. “Cooperative Extension has really changed agriculture in America, and if we have anything to do with it, that will continue as we go forward.”

Jose de Jesus Alaya Padilla, director general of Mexico’s National Institute for the development of Capacities of Rural sector (INCA Rural), said that convincing faculty members that is to their benefit to participate in university-based extension programs represents a significant challenge.

“We find that some researchers in the universities say they don’t have enough incentives to go out there and do extension services,” Padilla said. “We worry about that.”

Morgan noted that a similar situation exists at American universities, where faculty members are promoted based on their publications and the grants they receive.

“What we have done here is to give people very clear appointments, and to let those people do scholarship in extension and document that,” Morgan said. “We have had really good success because individuals have done stellar work. We then document this with outside peer reviews.”

The remainder of the story can be viewed online on UDaily by clicking here.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

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