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The Digital Stories

from Primate Field School

Rwanda Africa


Summer 2014 






Course Description

The Primate Studies Field School offers students the opportunity to follow and observe several rare monkey and ape species in the wild and walk in Dian Fossey’s footsteps while collecting data on mountain gorillas.  Students will also take in Rwanda’s natural beauty and explore the cultural heritage of one of Africa’s most progressive nations.

Sky - 2014

Melissa - 2014

Zach - 2014

Goals of Program

  • To experience and understand the dynamics of primate social relationships (e.g., family systems, mothering styles, adolescence, fathering), and their connection to social systems, species differences in social systems and connection to local ecology

  • To think critically and learn scientific methodology, including a variety of quantitative field observation techniques and data gathering tools used to describe and analyze social interactions, social systems, group demography, and environmental features

  • To gain global competency by working with fellow students from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities, and to experience the challenges of primatological field work in remote locations

Learning Objectives

  • Have proficiency in the use of basic scientific methods and instruments for collecting primate behavioral data

  • Be able to design and carry out a basic observational field research project

  • Be knowledgeable about the relationship between local ecology and primate social behavior

  • Understand human family/social systems in the broader primate comparative perspective

  • Understand in situ primate conservation issues and approaches to their solution

  • Be experienced in multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary collaborative team work under challenging field conditions

  • Have an improved familiarity with the cultures and peoples of Rwanda

Assessment Measures


  • Orientation Presentation

  • Rwanda Primate Profile Project

  • Journal

  • Participation

  • Team Presentation

  • Digital Storytelling Project

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