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Extraordinary Educator Experiences

Merck-xsciLogoSponsored by the Merck Foundation, this once in a lifetime opportunity provides the ultimate science education experience in the company of like-minded teachers. Imagine yourself at the top of the mountain or viewing elephants, giraffes, and lions in their natural habitat. Trekking to the top of Kilimanjaro volcano and viewing the free roaming wildlife on safari will offer an exciting place to study geology, volcanology, botany, biology and environmental science. Visiting The Gombe Research Institute, and teaching in African schools. (View 2012 Trip Trailer)


Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is located three degrees south of the equator in Northeastern Tanzania. It is the tallest mountain in Africa and is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. This immense mountain is made up of three volcanoes: Shira, Mawenzi, and our goal, Kibo, the tallest one in the middle. A local guide is required to hike Kilimanjaro. Porters go on the trip to carry your luggage, food, and other equipment. Students carry a daypack and cooks will prepare all meals. We take the Rongai Route up the north side of the mountain, it is more scenic than the Marangu or Machame routes, and the success rate is very high. All climbers’ sleep in tents (tents are included) and meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. The route starts just south of the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. The descent is down the Marangu Route on the south side of the mountain.

Students experience 6 biomes as they climb Kilimanjaro. The land is cultivated and inhabited up to about 1900 meters(6200 feet) in elevation. The dense rainforest begins at the base of the mountain and turns into a into a shorter forest with moss and giant ferns until about 2800 meters (9200 feet). The third biome experienced is the heather biome up to 3300 meters (10,800 feet) when Moorland appears with the unusual Senecio Kilimanjari trees. Once students reach 4000 – 4800 meters (13,000 to 15,500 feet), they go through Alpine Desert where some mosses, lichens, and starchy flowers are all that remain. The final biome is the area around the summit is the Arctic biome. It looks a bit like moonscape with only rock and glacier.

The Serengeti

The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in Serengeti area, Tanzania. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and it’s many crocodile. It is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey. The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves. It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.

Jane Goodall’s Gombe Stream Research Center

Students will visit Jane Goodall’s Research Center in Gombe where they will work with researchers in the field for a day. Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe, is still regularly seen by visitors. The Gombe Stream Research Center was founded in 1965 to advance Jane Goodall’s revolutionary findings about chimpanzee tool-making and other behaviors.

The center is also is a living laboratory, home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees. The Center’s mission is to operate a world-class research station in which the best available methods are used to continue and further develop the long-term primate research projects begun by Dr. Jane Goodall, and to advance basic science, support conservation, and train Tanzanian scientists. The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960’s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

St. Timothy’s School

Students will have an amazing opportunity to work in teams and spend a day at the St. Timothy School in Moshi, Tanzania where they will teach one of 3 subjects. Teachers will have the opportunity to work in groups prior to the the trip in addition to their regular pre-trip course work to generate objectives/lesson plans.

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