Cumberland, Ohio - Laura Busby, Director of Conservation Education at the Wilds, will travel to Africa this August to study conservation programs for cheetahs, African wild dogs and other African wildlife.
plans to use lessons learned on the trip as the Wilds
develops a new facility for conservation of mid-sized carnivores.
"My goals are to learn about the conservation of the carnivores in their home ranges and make educational connections to those locations," says Busby
"This will help us to build more holistic programming at the Wilds
that connects our research and conservation work here with activities in the field."
For the first leg of her
will take part in the Earth Expeditions program, a partnership between Miami University's
Project Dragonfly and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden which recognizes outstanding educators throughout the country and provides them with research experiences at conservation hotspots around the world.
will travel to Namibia with a group of U.S. educators and instructors from Miami University
and the Cincinnati Zoo to conduct field research projects at the Cheetah Conservation Fund's headquarters, investigating radio tracking, cheetah physiology, ecosystem management, and the design of school and community programs in Namibia.
While in-country, Busby
will also join Namibian educators to begin long-term collaborative projects linking classrooms in both countries.
and the Namibian educators return to their home institutions, their work will continue on Dragonfly's web platform, created specifically for educator collaboration.
Following the Earth Expeditions trip to Namibia, Busby
will travel to Zimbabwe to visit the Community Conservation Education Complex (CCEC) of the Painted Dog Conservation Project.
The Painted Dog Conservation Project works to conserve and increase the range and numbers of the painted dog, also know as the African wild dog, both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa by providing conservation tools and education material that can be used to protect this highly endangered carnivore.
began construction this spring of a facility to breed and manage mid-sized carnivores, with initial plans to feature cheetahs, African wild dogs (painted dogs) and dholes, a wild canine species from Asia.
Busby plans to draw on her
experiences in Africa to develop programming for the new facility.
"We hope our visitors and program participants will go away with a deeper understanding of what it takes to do conservation work with carnivores in captive and wild situations and how those efforts go 'hand in hand'," says Busby
Busby, who joined the staff of the Wilds in 2004, has devoted her career to environmental education.
Before coming to the Wilds, she served as Director of Centers and Education with Audubon Ohio and has gained experience working at zoos throughout the Midwest.
has traveled to Africa previously, as she
time in East Africa at the Jane Goodall Institute
as part of Roots & Shoots
, an international humanitarian and environmental program for youth.
She is immediate Past President of the Board of the Environmental Education Council of Ohio, a leading professional organization for environmental educators in the state.
Busby lives in Licking County near Glenford.