Friday, 7 August 2015

Experiental learning in Namibia


by Ellie Poteat - NDP Intern, July 2015

Coming from a ranch in Montana, I didn’t come here with a lot of relevant marine biology knowledge. On my first boat day, I almost launched the trailer into the ocean instead of the boat! After working here for a month, I have gained a better understanding of what it takes to work with wildlife, and I learned how to launch the boat! 

Although I had a more challenging time adjusting to fieldwork in the ocean, it was worthwhile to be able see the animals we study thrive in their natural habitat. When we approached the Heaviside’s dolphins with the boat, it’s like coming home to a pet puppy, they bounce around the boat as if they are happy to see you! No matter where people come from, I think they can appreciate the feeling of sharing a positive experience with these dolphins, and to be able to help these dolphins continue to thrive is really fulfilling. After going through the photos dolphin’s fins in the office to try and ID them, I started to recognize some of the individuals. In a way, it felt like I got to know some of them, so it made the work feel more meaningful. Working here made me develop a deeper connection to the animals that inhabit this area, and I will take back with me a greater appreciation for something that was previously completely foreign to me.

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