A Steppe Forward for Budding Conservationists (Part 2)

by ZSL on

When reading about great conservationists we discover that the majority have something in common; an inspirational experience that transformed them and encouraged them to make a difference. Could the ZSL Summer Field Course be your turning point?

Prof. Gomboo demonstrating the use of mist netting on the 2015 ZSL Mongolia Summer Field Course
Professor Gomboo demonstrates the use of mist nets

A few weeks ago we heard from Helen Spence-Jones about her amazing experience on the Mongolia Summer Field course in 2015 . This week we will hear from ZSL’s own Mooji, who attended the course herself when she was an undergraduate. 

A photo of Mooji (Munkhjargal Myagmar) wearing a ZSL t-shirt

Tell us a little bit about yourself

 My name is Munkhjargal Myagmar (Mooji), I have worked as a conservation biologist with ZSL’s conservation programmes in Mongolia for the past several years. I’m from Erdenet which is in  Northern Mongolia. I graduated as a conservation biologist and ecologist from National University of Mongolia in 2005. I have been camera trapping across protected areas in Mongolia since  2011.

Why did you apply for the ZSL Mongolia Field Course?

 Our university practical work mostly covered taxonomy and anatomy. There was an interesting poster on the Uni announcement board one day: it was the very first field course run by Steppe  Forward Programme back in 2003. I still remember the moment I submitted my application to attend that course, I was wondering what those ecological field techniques were about. The field  course covered a variety of subjects including modern field ecological techniques and we were able to test them in the wild.

What the Field Course was like?

It was unique and unforgettable. The moment I still remember whenever I go out in the field, is when we set up mist nets for bats. We waited for a while but got no captures. I was looking at the sky and it was so gorgeous: the Gobi sky with millions of stars. Then suddenly we got three bats at almost the same time. The instructors showed us how to release the bats in different nets. The students were very excited and the translator was running around us to in order to translate for all of us at same time.

What have you been up to since the field course?

I’ve been working for the Steppe Forward Programme since 2009. I was hired as a wildlife biologist and since 2012 I’ve been Executive Director of Steppe Forward, the Mongolian NGO. I help to coordinate the field courses now, translating the lectures for Mongolian students and as well as teaching the camera trapping sessions. I always feel very proud to be a part of these courses and to see previous field course students having successful progress in their own conservation careers.   

If you also want to be part of this one in a lifetime experience and you are an undergraduate studying a biology related subject, we want to hear from you! The applications are still open: email sfcapplications@zsl.org or click here for more information on the course including how to apply.

For everyone else, we will keep you updated on how this year’s course goes! Please, follow us here and in Facebook and Twitter.

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