North Shropshire College (NSC) Level 5 Animal Science students have recently returned from an educational trip to South Africa after having the opportunity to participate in a research study tour as part of their Foundation Degree. The NSC students travelled with students from Souths Staffordshire College.
The group stayed at the Mankwe Game Reserve in North West Province; a dedicated field education and research site. The team at the reserve were extremely knowledgeable and supportive by helping the students complete their projects, alongside teaching them about the fascinating natural history of South Africa.
The students took part in a wide range of research activities including bird spotting, game walks and soil sampling. NSC student Harriett Bailey comments, ‘The South Africa Trip was action-packed and a brilliant learning experience. I collected research on dung beetle behaviour and as a result, I have been asked to share these findings with a wider research programme’.
The data collected by the students is now being used in their own projects to draw conclusions of their work. NSC Animal Care Lecturer Nick Saxby comments, ‘This was such a great opportunity for our Animal Science students, it has inspired many of them to undertake further research in the future. Some of our students are even planning on returning to the reserve as volunteers in upcoming years in order to work with the team in South Africa to complete their dissertations for the next stage of their education’.
The NSC students also had the chance to explore South African culture by visiting a local community market with local rangers and also visited the Pilanesburg National Park where they students were able to watch elephants, hippos and other iconic wildlife species. Reserve Manager Lynne MacTavish has been involved in rhino conservation in recent years and was able to teach students about these issues. Now back in the UK, the students have been inspired to work on fundraising activities to help African rhino conservation.