Mpala Field Trip
Twenty four Daraja girls got to do the work of research scientists on a recent field trip to Mpala Research Center, a few miles from the school campus. In small groups, girls tracked Grant’s gazelles, elephants, dik-diks and impalas that are being studied, measured water loss in plant leaves, and compared ecosystems. After a tasty lunch that included the rare treat of ice cream, they all trekked into the bush in the hot sunshine to help measure, stake, and rope off twenty by twenty plots and then map and describe the trees growing within. The plants in 150 acres of these plots are being studied as part of a world-wide Smithsonian project to study long-term changes.
When asked if she thinks she wants to be a scientist after doing science work, Moreen said, “I think it was hard, because it was hot and the thorns and ants hurt. But if I were assigned, I would do it!”
If you ask the girls what they liked best about the beautifully organized day, they all exclaim, “The waterfall!” Who doesn’t love discovering a small waterfall where you can climb on big boulders?
Daraja is happy and honored to be partnering with Mpala, a leading institution for research in conservation and other environmental and wildlife issues. The director, Margaret Kinnaird, visited the campus last week with a group of women scientists, and the girls got to talk with them about the work they do and how they were able to become scientists. It was a great week for women’s empowerment and career exploration at Daraja!