Monday, February 3, 2014

David in the Mara!

The last few weeks have been some of the busiest, but most fun and successful, of our entire field season. My advisor, Dr. David Post, came in from Yale in mid-January to spend two weeks in the field with us. David visited us in the Mara in 2011, and his insights on the system were invaluable in helping shape our research questions, so we were really excited to have back in the Mara to see what we had accomplished since then. 

David was excited to see some more of the Mara than he had seen during his last visit, and I think we delivered. Within his first week in Kenya, we had driven 1,600 km (mostly on dusty, bumpy dirt roads) and he had only spent two nights in the same place once.

David Post and Amanda at the Rift Valley overlook
Our primary goal during David's first week in Kenya was getting the experimental streams up and running. After determining that running the streams off of solar power would be cost-prohibitive, we decided to run the experiment at the Water Resource User's Association (WRUA) in Mulot. This location has several advantages. It has a main source of power, a water pump and tank system already in place, good security, and a location for Geemi to camp while he helps out with this experiment. Most importantly, it allows us to work with the WRUA and inform them more about our research in the Mara. The WRUA has been an active and important force for improved water and land management in the Mara for a number of years now, and they just recently won the Thiess International Riverprize!

David talking with some of the WRUA members about the streams
By the end of David's first week, we had laid the groundwork for not one, but two exciting experiments to undertake in the Mara! More details to come...
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