Where does it fit into Sustaining Peace?
Conservationists across the world are beginning to recognize the importance of conflict mitigation between humans and wildlife for effective ecosystem management. Holistic, socio-ecological system approaches that address multiple layers of conflict enhance our ability to foster coexistence between wildlife and local human communities. This relatively new approach to conserving wildlife, as opposed to staunchly separating the environment from humans, has proven to be successful when effectively combined with political and development goals.
This is an excerpt from the description on the Conservation and Peacebuilding Workshop that will be co-presented by two 2014 AC4 Fellows, Cynthia Malone and Kaggie Orrick. Kaggie was interviewed in our most recent AC4 Interview Series; she comes from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is pursuing a M.S. with an emphasis on conservation biology. Here's more from Kaggie:
How did you get interested in the field of conservation? What led you to undertake graduate study of it?
I’ve always been interested in the environment and loved the outdoors. As a kid I used to create little ecosystems in my pocket; I’d gather dirt and crickets and stuff – I was a weird kid! In high school I got to participate in outdoor education activities, including school trips with conservation work, backpacking and hiking.
[...] before coming to Columbia, I lived and worked on a game reserve in South Africa doing large carnivore research for three years. That pushed me into everything that I am doing now. I had focused on Africa in college, going to Namibia for a study abroad my junior year and working with Save the Rhino Trust. I had loved being in Africa and doing different fieldwork, like tracking black rhino in the Namib Desert! So, working with Global Vision International (GVI) was perfect – it was the door that opened up so many other opportunities.
But, after working at GVI for three years, I realized we were conducting a lot of research and had collected a lot of data for different universities across the globe, but as staff we weren’t actually analyzing it. I wanted to come back to school and be able to analyze the data I had collected and do some of my own research. The resources and the tools here at Columbia have been incredibly useful!
What advice or general pointers do you have for graduate students hoping to do original research?
Find something you are passionate about! I know it sounds cliché but it really does make all the difference. I have seen people or heard from people who did graduate programs and they’ve chosen a thesis based on what they’ve heard from others or something others told them they should do, and they get burned out.
If you find something you are genuinely interested in that you would research or look into whether you had the funds or were getting a degree for it or not, then everything kind of falls in place. Your enthusiasm or love for it comes out! Don’t choose something because you think it might be interesting to other people or because other people told you to do it, because that’s not going to fly, ultimately. That will make it all the harder and you’re going to get bored with it because it’s not fueled by your passion and your interests.
Visit the recent post to read the full interview.
Also, to learn more about the innovative, interdisciplinary research and practice-based projects of 2014 Cohort of AC4 Fellows, come to the Poster Session at 11am on March 26th!