UG wildlife survey course helped students build practical skills
A course in ‘Wildlife Survey Techniques’ was recently offered for students and faculty in the Departments of Biology, Forestry, and Environmental Science at the University of Guyana (UG) and included a field portion.
A release from the organisers of the course said that classroom-based portion of the course was delivered by guest lecturers, Dr. Burton Lim of the Royal Ontario Museum and Dr. Matt Hallett of the University of Florida and Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. The release said Dr. Lim is an expert on small mammals in the tropics, particularly bats, and has been working here since the initial surveys ahead of the Georgetown-Lethem highway and Iwokrama forest in 1990. Dr. Hallett is the founder of the Rupununi Wildlife Research Unit and has been studying jaguars and their prey in the Rupununi for the last eight years.
The lectures were open to the public and delivered at UG’s Turkeyen campus from 5-9 March 2018.
The field portion of the course was hosted at Yarrowkabra Training Centre 12-16 March 2018, via a donation of the space by the Guyana Forestry Commission. Experts from the Rupununi, Asaph Wilson (South Rupununi Conservation Society), Eon Gray (South Rupununi Conservation Society), Kenneth Butler (Surama Eco-Lodge), and Fernando Li (Caiman House Research Station), joined Dr. Hallett and Dr. Lim in helping students build the practical skills required for undertaking wildlife research, the release said.
Students developed practical skills through daily sampling of birds (mist nets surveys; handling animals for taking body measurements and banding; conducting point counts) among other tasks. Overall, students, faculty, and instructors documented 18 species of reptiles and amphibians (6 frogs, 7 lizards, 3 snakes, 2 caiman), 98 species of birds (12 species weighed and measured), and 24 species of small mammals (22 bats, 2 rodents), and 15 species of medium-large mammals (tayra, deer, agouti, porcupine, armadillo, opossum, and 3 species of primates).
The release said that one resounding fact highlighted from the course was the value of bringing students and faculty together with expertise existing in the country. Students remarked that incorporating the instructors from the Rupununi gave the course “a mixture of professional and cultural knowledge that created a beautiful and educational mix.”
The course was supported by an academic programme to strengthen technical capacity for natural resource management in Guyana. The release said that the programme is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) under the title, ‘Achieving a Green State: Building human capacity for natural resource management in Guyana’. The project aims to place the University of Guyana at the forefront of high-impact academic research on natural resource management, the release added.
University of Guyana Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry gets New Offices and Study Room
“We had some realities that we needed to change and we must find ways to use this new reality adequately, safely and in our best interest.” This was the declaration by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Ivelaw Griffith as he gave remarks at the official opening of new offices and a study room at the University’s Turkeyen Campus.
With the addition of new programmes within the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, there was a demand for the expansion of the building in order to create an environment more conducive to teaching and research.
The project which had been in the pipeline for a number of years, came to fruition under the current Dean of the faculty, Owen Bovell who noted that, “ The Vice-Chancellor and I worked together and we got an initiation of the process of the building, and we are grateful as a faculty for this new facility and we will take pride in it”
Also present at the ceremony was the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Delma Nedd who pointed to the fact that the building’s purpose further assists her ministry.
“This enclosure has now created more space for agriculture, training research and conversation as we move towards agriculture research and education in Guyana,” Nedd remarked.
The PS also went on to say that due to the economy’s domination by natural resources and agriculture production; and in light of the fact that a national consultation on establishing a University of Guyana Institute of Food and Nutrition Security between Ministry of Agriculture and University of Guyana was recently convened, the work of the faculty is only just beginning.
Also present at the ceremony were lecturers of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and President of University of Guyana Students Society.
The new extension which cost $30M houses five additional offices which would cater for eight more staff members, a sanitary block which also caters for the physically disabled, along with a study room, fire escape and a patio. The expansion was managed by a building committee which assessed the needs of students and staff in order to make the space comfortable and accessible.
- The University of Guyana