As of this year, the College of Natural Resources (CNR) is offering a trip to Kenya which fulfills the required summer field experience for all CNR majors. Previously, the CNR required students to fulfil a summer session in natural resources by attending either Treehaven in Tomahawk Wisconsin, or by going abroad to Germany, Iceland, and Poland to study European resource management.
Kenya became an option for summer field experience due to the large quantity of CNR students who must complete their summer field work. With the choice between going to Europe or Treehaven, both programs were getting full rather quickly. Offering the summer field experience in Kenya provided an alternative for more students to go abroad while still earning the required credit for the CNR.
The trip offers an alternative to those who want to study aboard while staying out of the large cities of Europe.
Amelia Fass, one of the students selected for the Kenyan trip this summer, said she chose Kenya as an abroad option over Europe because “I felt that I could travel to Europe much easier, and that Kenya is an opportunity that is hard to come by.”
The Kenya trip has been offered through the Study Abroad Office since 2011 for summer credit. The trip will be led by Dr. Holly Petrillo, professor of forestry, entomology and pathology. Some of the curriculum will be changed now that the course is part of the summer field experience but Petrillo said, “the course isn’t going to change a whole lot.”
Brewster Johnson, who attended the trip in the summer of 2014, said that he went to Kenya because he is “interested in sustainable design, and I’ve been interested in Integrated Ag.”
Students on the trip will be working with small communities in Kenya on an agricultural practice called permaculture, which involves farming crops in a way that mimics natural growth patterns of crops with the utilization of crop layers.
The trip will work with tea and coffee farmers in three dryland sites and one highly-productive highland site.
“Permaculture is very applied and hands on,” Petrillo said, therefore students can expect to do a lot of tactical work with the farmers in Kenya. At the end of the course, students will receive a permaculture design certificate.