New Mexico State University education professor Prentice Baptiste calls his summer plans, "a serendipitous opportunity to explore the ecology and natural environments of wildlife in the national parks of Kenya as well as examine the culture of the people."
Baptiste leaves for Kenya, Africa, July 6 and will spend most of the month mingling his research interests in ecology and multiculturalism.
"Both of my professional interests will be highlighted for this trip," Baptiste said.
Baptiste, who teaches elementary science and secondary science methods courses at NMSU, is looking forward to visiting the Samburu National Game Reserve, known for its unique species of mammals and birds, and the Lake Nakuru National Park, a world famous bird sanctuary. He also will visit the Maasai Mara National Park, known for its lion and cheetah habitats.
As he experiences the ecosystems of Kenya, Baptiste plans to take many photographs to share with his students in the fall.
"It will be a great opportunity to have them compare Kenyan ecosystems with those in the U.S., especially the Southwest," Baptiste said.
Baptiste also will be observing the various Kenyan cultural groups and how they relate to each other culturally.
"This will be a macro-scale study of the social behaviors of the Kenyan society," he said.
Baptiste has already been invited to draft an article for a multicultural journal and also plans to translate his observations for his students in a multicultural course he teaches.
Finally, Baptiste will have the opportunity to observe a unique educational model when visiting the David Sheldrick Trust at Nairobi National Park. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Community Outreach Program is working to facilitate school children's attainment of African wildlife conservation concepts through the caring of orphaned baby elephants.
"I hope to learn a great deal about the model of combining the care of orphaned elephants and providing Kenyan school children practical field experiences in conservation concepts," Baptiste said.
Baptiste is a distinguished achievement professor in NMSU's College of Education. He has authored or edited six books, as well as numerous articles, papers and chapters on multicultural and science education. His most recent research interests centered on the U.S. Presidents and social justice and the role of instructional technology and its effect on scientific literacy among students of color.