Wildlife conservation is big business in Kenya and ecotourism within that structure is one of the top 3 contributors to its GDP. Preservation of open space helps save species from destruction, sustains the environment, and expands business and revenue opportunities for many. However, Kenya’s conservation system is also displacing native pastoralist communities from their historic lands. Although Kenyan pastoralists have been protecting and coexisting with wildlife for centuries, a duality exists between the two perspectives that is rooted in Kenya’s colonial legacy.
In partnership with Atlas Workshops, we will explore the intersection of values and issues of conservation in Kenya. From the western-sponsored wildlife support organizations to community conservation programs across the country, the spectrum of work is as diverse as the country itself. In Nairobi we will visit key animal sanctuaries to learn different approaches and be inspired by the legacy of Wangari Maathai, a Nobel prize winning environmentalist in Kenya. In the Mara, we will learn from Maasai people, who have coexisted with animals for millenia, about the global pressures and expectations of conservation. We will meet with local students and young people to explore how the next generation can build deeper connections to our natural environments.