The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.


A fulbright award

August 19, 2021

Our own Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation, has received a second Fulbright Specialist Award, this time to help improve ranger training in South Africa! These extremely competitive Fulbright Awards (only 400 are awarded annually) are the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department and are designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. 


Dr. James’s first Fulbright award was awarded in 2018 when he traveled to Pune, India to help the Applied Environmental Research Foundation. During the two month long project in India, he trained the entire staff of AERF on advanced experimental design, social science techniques, and statistics. The staff have since used these skills to benefit the forest conservation projects they implement with communities in the mountain chain on the western side of India called the Western Ghats.


This second award will take Dr. James to South Africa to work with the Southern African Wildlife College. The SAWC trains huge numbers of rangers, land managers, and conservationists working across Africa and around the world. Dr. James will work with SAWC to create an online version of their very successful ranger training program. Obviously the cost of sending a staff member internationally is prohibitive for all but the best funded conservation organizations. An online version of this certificate program will enable many more people to benefit, without the costs and other challenges involved in traveling all the way to South Africa. 


Dr. James will be in South Africa for several weeks in September and then again in early 2022 to advise and implement this important program. He says that “I feel hugely honored and lucky that both the Fulbright Program and the SAWC have chosen me to come and help them improve ranger training across Africa. I will do my best to apply my two decades of online education experience to meet this challenge!” 


He will be blogging about this project over the next few months, so check in regularly for those reports from the field right here on our blog page. 

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