July 21 – 24, 2022

July 21, 2022. The morning was spent at camp working on more lesson plans. The afternoon we should be going to collect plants for biomass data. The method for this collection is different than other methods and involves drying the plants collected from specified 1 meter square sections within a Boma.

We didn’t go collect plants in afternoon. There were other projects to complete and our team leader was tied up with the other projects. So Chelle and I continued to work on the lesson planning taking small mental breaks throughout the day. We stopped working at 945 pm…..it was a long planning day.

July 22, 2022. This morning we have a unique opportunity to visit a site with hominin footprints. This site was not associated with Koobi Fora but with the Turkana Basin Institute managed by the Leakys. The Koobi Fora is managed by the National Museum of Kenya. I will upload pictures when I can. The hominin footprints we also surrounded by avian, bovid and equid footprints. The footprints were around 1.52 million years old. Before we left Meave and Louise(sp) Leaky showed up to further investigate the site. We said hello to the legacy family and then left for the day.

Footprints in the preserved mud. Look just left of the person in white shirt with paint brush in hand.

When we returned to the base camp, Chelle and I began working again since we knew the next day we would be going into the field again to collect plants.

Later that night I walked the trail behind our tents (one of the only locations for partial signal). I used my head lamp to scan the bush areas for signs of predators (I found more fresh lion prints yesterday in that area). I spotted two glowing eyes (really small and low to ground compared to a very large predator) bouncing and zigzagging toward me. I quickly got my camera on video mode and hit record. To my delight a bat-eared Fox bounded straight in front of me then veered off to my right once it realized I was not a tree. It was one of my coolest moments here at base camp. I will place a screen shot of the video on here later. The previous night the same thing happens but with a Cervel Cat.

July 23, 2022. Breezy….nothing new there. we went to Burasura site to survey a new Boma. This Boma was located in the delta and flood plain of a dry river bed. Therefore the vegetation here is large trees and very little to no ground cover. The Boma area was essentially a forest with all the perimeter fences and manyattas tucked in among the trees. Honestly the whole scene reminded me of a hobbit shire. We were really interested in looking at the difference between the canopy/trees in this area versus where the typical Bomas are located.

After we returned to camp Chelle and I did some planning. Around 545pm we all participated in a quiz competition over the content that the fina exam will cover. It was fun and very competitive.

July 24, 2022. Beautiful cloudless sunrise. Oatmeal for breakfast. Last big work day for putting together all presentations and papers. Chelle and I will present together today over our lesson plans as well as turn in our lesson plans. We will all listen to each other’s presentations tomorrow.

During the day Chelle and I took two breaks to collect plant biomass using a quadrant system. The data will be used to compare against Boma plant biomass at a later time. We did about 3 and a half hours of collection just outside camp…walking distance.

Our lesson planning and presentation preparations took us until about 10pm to finish. Our lessons are not completed yet as we need to finish them back in the states when we have access to full internet and our additional resources. Despite the lack of internet we were able to create 70 pages of types lesson plans which include teachers instructions, student labs, activities and alignment documents along with 47 pages of data tables, charts and phenomena resources. We feel very good about what we have created yet we still have lots of work to do. Our timeline for completed/finalized lesson plans is just under a year for publication. This is due to trial of lessons, revision & editing, and assessment work. This may seem like a long timeline but we are both full time teachers as well as have our own family duties such as parenting, not to mention just plain adulting.

The next day is presentations and submission of papers. Then on Wednesday we have our final exam. Thursday we begin our travels back to Nairobi and eventually our homes. We have 2 travel day just to get to Nanyuki where we stay for two nights then on to Nairobi where we have one night stay. I fly out VERY late on the 31 st to begin my 24+ hour flights back to Nebraska.