Paige’s Experience at Gorongosa Park in Mozambique

IMG_5500.JPGGorongosa National park located in Mozambique, over 4000 square km and home to a plethora of biodiversity. At one point it was one of the richest places in all of Mozambique for biodiversity, but the civil conflict has diminished this. The park has a patchwork of habitat diversity, creating the perfect opportunity for great diversity, the park’s biodiversity is currently being studied, paying specific attention to the repopulation of some of the larger fauna. The Carr Foundation/Gorongosa Restoration Project, a U.S. not-for-profit organization, has teamed with the Government of Mozambique to protect and restore the ecosystem of Gorongosa National Park and to develop an ecotourism industry to benefit local communities. Scientists have identified three main vegetation types supporting the Gorongosa ecosystem’s wealth of wildlife. Seventy-six percent is savanna — combinations of grasses and woody species that favor well-drained soils. Fourteen percent is woodlands — several kinds of forest and thickets. The rest is grasslands subjected to harsh seasonal conditions that prevent trees from growing. All three types are found throughout the system, with many different subtypes and varieties.

Paige Pearson, a Delta Gamma at American University is currently at Gorongosa Park in Mozambique & here’s a little bit about why she is there & some of the amazing things she’s experiencing:

IMG_5144.JPG“My sister & I are in Gorongosa Park creating a documentary about the educational programs that the park offers for locals & it is really phenomenal. The park recognizes that living around a conservation site has had a significant impact on locals who largely rely on agriculture to get by. They want to create a harmonious relationship between the park & the locals in order to make the park more sustainable. They educate locals in so many ways – there is a program called the Girl’s Club that focuses on keeping girls in school instead of marrying off at young ages. There is also a branch called The Community Engagement Center which takes local community members in & teaches them how to farm more wisely, how to take care of their & other’s health, the value of education, & water sanitization so they can try to create more prosperous & indecent villages. It is really incredible & it’s making quite an impact on the local communities. The park itself is outstanding because it has countless ecosystems & types of terrain so one minute you might be going through a palm tree grove & the next you’re in the tall grasses or a different type of forest. It’s absurd!

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The park is getting a lab soon that will allow them to do gene sequencing as well because they have a whole fraction of the park that works with documenting al of the plan & animal & fungi species in the park which is also super cool. & once they can do gene sequencing, they’ll be able to better identify some of the species & their relations to one another. They’re even hoping that they might be able to figure out a way to sue insects instead of pesticides to kill other harmful species.”

IMG_5734For more information on this incredible place, visit http://www.gorongosa.org/ !

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