Blog post series from the Okavango delta

As a second entry to our series of blog posts following the staff/student field trip to understanding the complex sustainability challenges of the Okavango delta, we have a student profile by Heather this week.  This trip is a joint project of the PLuS Alliance with University of New South Wales and Arizona State University.


Into the Okavango Delta by Heather Needham

I am a first-year undergraduate student currently studying BSc Geography at King’s. During my first year at university, I have found studying modules themed around biodiversity, climate change, hydrology and natural hazards really interesting.

Outside of university, I have recently completed a two-week internship at the Royal Geographical Society, and I represent the Society as a Geography Ambassador.

It is an honour to be awarded a King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship which gives me the opportunity to travel to the Okavango Delta this month. This will be a new experience for me as it the first time I have flown outside of Europe.  I will be joined by students from the University of Arizona and the University of New South Wales in which we will help preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Botswana, I will be exploring the physical and human processes that affect the wetland. This enables me to advocate conservation through the exploration, collection and analysis of data in the Okavango which supports my ambition to protect and conserve natural landscapes. In particular, I will be assisting Michael Chadwick on his research examining the factors that affect the ecosystem services in Botswana. Specifically, I will be investigating how disease affects Botswana spatially.

Even though writing my dissertation is still quite far off, the research trip to Botswana will enable me to understand how to conduct a field research project abroad and what is involved in higher academic research. This will give me the experience and skills I need to fuel my ambition to be the first in my family to obtain a Doctoral Degree.