Rio Baran ’25
Teaching Assistant for Conservation Clubs
Over eight weeks, I brought conservation education to 16 after-school groups around Laikipia County, Kenya. Each day, I designed and delivered a lesson to answer a different ecological question. The lessons took different forms, for example using books or games to address questions like “How does energy move through an ecosystem?” During our travels to and from the club sites, I was inspired by elephants, baboons, and other wildlife along the way. When I wasn’t teaching, I helped organize an education fair where each school presented their club’s work in the form of displays, dioramas, dramas, poems, songs, and dances. Community Conservation Day was a success and brought together over 1,500 community members. I made new friends — colleagues, students, and teachers — and learned about a completely new environment; the grassland where I lived. I learned the importance of flexibility, took in the beauty that emerges from the combination of science and art, and realized that conservation is a community project. As an aspiring scientist and conservationist, I commit to grounding future research in the lives, needs, lessons, and expertise of the people around me.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Rubenstein Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Mpala Research Centre, Nanyuki, Kenya
Daniel Rubenstein, Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology