Kaggie Orrick ’10
Round River Conservation Studies
Botswana Program Leader
Round River Conservation Studies – Botswana
From a young age I knew that I wanted to work in the outdoors and hoped my life would be full of great adventures and experiences. When I came to Colby College I became an environmental science major in hopes to realize some of these dreams. When I started looking for abroad programs, I knew that I wanted to contribute to something larger than myself, and to be wowed by the world ahead of me. When I first read about Round River Conservation Studies I knew that was the exact type of program I wanted to participate in. Every program was fieldwork-based and would apply everything that had been taught to me in the classroom into real-life conservation projects. I spent the fall of 2008 in Namibia tracking black rhino through the desert, surveying vegetation plots, counting zebra and other herbivores, and conducting interviews in local communities about the human-wildlife interface in their villages.
My instructors encouraged and challenged me, and made me realize for the first time this could actually be a career. After graduating from Colby College in 2010, I moved to South Africa and conducted feeding ecology and moments of large carnivores.
After three years of tracking lions, leopards and cheetah, I returned to the States to get my masters in Conservation Biology at Columbia University, with my thesis focusing on anthropogenic effects on elephant movements.
I now am a Botswana program leader for RRCS, conducting community-based wildlife monitoring in the Okavango Delta. To say that my abroad experience had an effect on me would be a grand understatement. RRCS truly opened up my work to a new experience and opportunities I never knew were even possible. I highly encourage anyone to find an abroad program that has the ability to have that type of an impact on your life.