Outreach and capacity expanding

Although our primary focus is the scientific research into Issa’s primates and sympatric wildlife, we have made concerted attempts to to get involved in community outreach, especially in Uvinza, the nearest Tanzanian village to the research station, and also to expand capacit of both our team and others around us. Below we describe some of our work. Please contact us if you would like to support any of these specific activities!


Environmental Education

DePaul - Andrew
Andrew Schork of UCSD’s Cognitive Science Department and CARTA member describes his experience with the WaHadzabe to Depaul students. Fiona helps translate.

September 2014: CARTA members joined the UPP for a visit to DePaul school in Uvinza where DePaul students presented sculptures and drawings on wildlife from the surrounding forests and GMERC and CARTA members led mini-stations that varied in theme, from the sounds and sites of the forest to t-shirt making and face-painting!

adidas winners
Alex stands with the contest winners, each who received a new pair of shoes, generously donated by adidas, inc. (September 2014)
teachingMarch 2014: At left, Naomi Cohen stands with students from DePaul School in Uvinza. In a project conceived and led by Naomi, students are being exposed to a variety of critical conservation issues that affect humans and wildlife. In her words:

“My environmental lessons are geared toward learning about wildlife diversity, natural resources, threats and conservation action to form 4 and 5 students (ages 9-11).”


Each of her classes had >30 students, who in their first lesson, were asked to draw an animal and share their drawing with three classmates. Each student then had the opportunity to present their animal to the class before taping their drawing onto a forest collage to demonstrate wildlife diversity. Students then determined which animals were found in the forest near Uvinza and invited to act out short skits demonstrating how species – plant and animal – are interconnected.

Shedrack Lucas presenting to DePaul students (September 2013)

In both September 2012 and 2013, UPP continued its work integrating environmental education and adidas shoe-giveaways, this time with DePaul Mission School in Uvinza, where we also sponsor six students. At right, our team gives a presentation on the importance of forests to people and wildlife as well as describe our work to mitigate some of the threats to the ecosystem, before contest winners pick out their new shoes (below).

Msigwa Rashid helps De Paul students select their new shoes! (September 2012)

Group photos of DePaul students, teachers, and GMERC members

DePaul students pose with GMERC members (September 2013)
DePaul students pose with GMERC members (September 2012)


In addition to our presentation, DePaul students demonstrate their singing and dancing abilities, before posing with GMERC members and teachers:



Thanks to the generosity of adidas, inc., and in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania and Roots & Shoots, we have been able to sponsor conservation-related contests in local schools, with students drawing pictures or writing stories about the importance of forests. Teachers selected winners, with prizes BRAND NEW adidas shoes. At left, Alex and the (then) Director of JGI (Tanzania) Masito-Ugalla Ecosystem Program, Emil Kayega, pose with winners and their teacher in February 2010. (Note bagged tree seedlings, ready for planting.)

Expanding capacity

With the growing number of collaborators, students, and overall, visitors to the research station, we have begun incorporating English speaking and writing lessons for our team.  In July 2016, we invited John Mayengo to the station to begin formal language lessons. John teaches English in Kigoma during the year, but has made time to come out to help improve our team’s communication skills. He returned in summer 2017 and we hope to make his visits regular moving forward.

Shule with John1 Shule team


Naomi Cohen teaching her group about motion triggered cameras




One way of combating the ecosystem-wide threats is to expand the capacity of those that protect the very forests under assault. With the support of The Nature Conservancy and Frankfurt Zoological Society, UPP members traveled to Ntakata Forest in September (2013) to train village forest scouts (FS) in methods of forest monitoring.

Shedrack Lucas teaches how to set and deploy a motion triggered camera

In total, we trained 18 village FS, representing six villages, over five days. We focused on teaching the use of GPS units and motion-triggered cameras, as well as the employment of line transects to census and monitor wildlife numbers over time.


Overall, our goal was first to train FS on the multiple ways that they can monitor wildlife numbers and threat intensity over time in their respective forests, but also standardise data collection protocols across these villages. The training was a tremendous success, and we hope to learn soon about what data the FS collect in the future! See more Training photos in our Gallery.

GMERC members and village forest scouts in Ntakata Forest (September 2013)