The end of October brought an exciting new field course opportunity during the recent reading week, for those in the school of SENRGy (School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography. A small group of environmental, conservation students (and one geographer), including myself and 7 others, were fortunate enough to join with some students from the University of Ghana, to undertake a field ecology and conservation course in Ghana. Lead by Prof. Julia Jones of Bangor and Prof. Erasmus Owusu, this intensive 10-day course provided all involved with some of the most valuable skills and knowledge needed for a future in conservation and ecology.
Mole National Park was the main focus destination of our trip, after a stay at a fantastic monkey sanctuary. Although this required a long 16-hour bus journey from the south to the north of Ghana, it was quickly forgotten on arrival at the park; the landscape we found ourselves in soon enchanted us all. This 4,770 km, 2 park, encompasses a huge, diverse range of animals. Including the largest population of Elephants in Ghana, providing us with a great area to explore and learn new practical skills such as mist netting, pitfall traps camera traps (see photos to see a group of elephants caught on camera very close to our rooms!).
Gaining valuable knowledge in Ghana’s beautiful ecosystems was definitely an unforgettable experience, but it wasn’t just the wildlife which was unforgettable. Having Prof. Julia Jones at our side, an expert in conservation social sciences, our group got unique experiences to visit rural communities and engage with them. We witnessed the traditional workings of rural communities and how they live with the animals which surround them. These experiences really are a once in a lifetime opportunity. Many Ghanaians will be remembered among the Bangor students.
Although this was the first course of its kind, this course, however action packed, ran smoothly, with all involved leaving with a much deeper knowledge and understanding of tropical ecology and conservation, as well as some new overseas friends.
Here are some comments on the trip:
“There are many reasons for which I wish to relive every moment of this spectacular trip to study and conserve nature. Yet, one reason I consider worthwhile, is the exposure and experience it has afforded me. I have acquired a new perspective to conservation which has hitherto ceaselessly eluded me. Indeed, this wall – less classroom experience will forever be etched in my mind as one worth reliving.”
– Haruna, Student from University of Ghana
“This trip was a great experience for me. Having students showing such keen interests and excitement in learning about species and their conservation really inspires hope and a lot of optimism for the future of conservation”
– Kofi, PhD researcher.
“I’m ever grateful for being given a chance to embark on this absolutely fun and immensely educational trip. I got to witness, first-hand, conservation practices and apply survey techniques that I only had theoretical knowledge about, and also made awesome friends from Bangor University while at it. Biodiversity conservation is really crucial, and this trip made me realize it more.”
– Samuel, Student from University of Ghana
For those in the school of SENRGY, keep your eyes peeled and act quickly for next year’s trips, they are excellent opportunities to expand your skills and experiences. Also, the final night party in the African Bush was one not be missed!