Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program
Since 2008, the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program has sponsored over 87 students and 39 mentors to 9 countries to study wildlife. For many, it is their first experience outside the United States, and when these students return from their trips they are truly transformed.
In 2008, Linda Duttenhaver made a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo and it changed her life. A long-time advocate for environmental conservation and education, Linda asked how she could help. With that was born the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
Linda, herself, experienced and benefitted from an international study program when she was in college and was so changed by the experience that she has looked for opportunities to provide high school students with a similar opportunity, but one tied directly to participating in conservation field research projects sponsored by the Earthwatch Institute, whose mission is to bring individuals from all walks of life together with world-class scientists to work for the good of the planet.
“By traveling to locations such as Thailand, Costa Rica, South Africa, Brazil and France, these students obtain invaluable international experience. When they return, they have a broader world view, more self confidence and stronger teamwork skills. This real-world experience prepares them well for their future careers and life experiences. It has been my joy to support this program for the past 12 years!”
The Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program is offered to eligible North Hollywood Magnet High School and Los Angeles Zoo Student Volunteer juniors and seniors to provide enriching opportunities in a science-based curriculum.
Program participants gain valuable field research experience and exposure to the natural world. Students are teamed-up with Zoo adult mentors on a field research expedition through Earthwatch Institute. They work side by side with Earthwatch scientists, helping with data collection and research support tasks. Their experience underscores the value of teamwork, builds interpersonal and problem-solving skills, stimulates interest in conservation science, and encourages further exploration in science education.
“Having received feedback from our partner scientists, I can vouch for the research contributions that the Zoo staff and student-volunteers have made on our research around the world in the past. Specifically, the students recruited by the L.A. Zoo are extremely motivated, effective volunteers, and the Zoo staff brings incredible knowledge of wildlife and plants to benefits our scientist’s work.”
Scholarships cover an award winner’s roundtrip airfare and most living expenses while on the expedition. The scholarship does not cover any costs associated with the recreation day, passport or visa costs, immunization costs, or supply costs.
For more information about the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program, please email Jess Kohring at [email protected]
“This trip easily surpassed my eager anticipations. I became more knowledgeable about biology, excited about careers in science, and closer to a distant culture. I made life-long friends among those who shared in my adventures.”
Costa Rica to study monkeys, parrots and other wildlife in the Coto Brus tropical forest
The Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program team traveled to Las Cruces Biological Station in Southern Costa Rica to help professors and graduate students from Northern Arizona University investigate the role that fruiting trees play in providing habitat for rainforest animals on Central American farmland.
Kenya to study elephants and sustainable agriculture
In 2017, the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program team traveled to Kenya to study elephants and sustainable agriculture. Elephant–human conflict has long been a conservation challenge in Asia, where expanding agriculture and development have been encroaching on elephant habitat.
Trinidad to study ocelots
In 2016, the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program team traveled to Trinidad to study ocelots. Trinidad provides a unique context for researchers to study these animals, as larger wild cats, including pumas and jaguars that typically influence ocelot ecology, are not found on the island.
France to study wildlife in the changing Pyranees
In 2015, the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program team traveled to France’s Midi-Pyrenees region to study the impact of climate change.
South Africa to study leopards and monkeys at the Lajuma Research Center in the Soutpansberg Mountains
The 2014 Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program team had the amazing opportunity to travel to South Africa with Earthwatch. They spent two weeks at the Lajuma Research Centre, a remote research station in the Soutpansberg Mountains, working with scientists of the Primate and Predator project.
Thailand to study Asian elephants at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation’s research site
In 2013, the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program sent a team of students and mentors on an Earthwatch adventure to Thailand to study Asian elephants.
Amazon Riverboat Expedition in Peru
For approximately two weeks in July, seven students and three mentors were involved with field work in the remote Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Loreto, Peru. The goal of the expedition was to take population surveys of indicator species such as pink and gray river dolphins, caiman, macaws, and fish in the Samiria River, to gauge the health of the ecoystem in the incredibly biodiverse, undeveloped region.
Kenya to study the Grevy’s zebra populations in Samburu
In July 2011, seven students and three adult mentors were the fortunate participants in a two-week expedition to the tiny town of Wamba in Kenya. The student-mentor team assisted scientists with ongoing studies examining the ecology and conservation of the Endangered Grevy’s Zebra at the EarthWatch Institute Center for Drylands Research.
Peru to study macaws
Eight students and four adult mentors were the lucky participants in a two-week expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in July 2010. The student-mentor team assisted scientists with ongoing studies examining the ecology and conservation of macaws in the Tambopata Natural Reserve.
Ecuador to study climate change, canopies and wildlife
Eight students and four adult mentors were the lucky participants in an eleven-day expedition to the cloud forests of Ecuador in July 2009. The student-mentor team took part in an Earthwatch Institute research project studying climate change, canopies and wildlife in the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador.
Brazil to study carnivore populations in Emas National Park
Six students and four adult mentors were the lucky participants in an expedition to the grasslands of Brazil in July 2008. For its inaugural journey, the Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program team took part in an Earthwatch Institute research project studying the carnivore population in Emas National Park.