Eleven people sitting on the ground and posing for a group photo

Making a Difference
Welcome Back CCA Global Sustainability Students!

Last month, ten elite students from Dana Hills High School, accompanied by CCA Education Manager Sara Ludovise and Dana Hills Environmental Studies Teacher Dolores Dang-Wright, travelled to Mankwe Wildlife Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa as part of an international conservation initiative—the Global Sustainability Project. Their mission: to monitor and assess scavenger species, particularly the Brown hyena, and learn more about their role in local South African ecosystems.

The project was sponsored by the Picerne Family Foundation, a CCA partner, and run in partnership with the Earthwatch Institute. Before leaving on the trip, the ten students collectively volunteered over 400 hours with Crystal Cove Alliance, taking part in scientific research in Crystal Cove’s backcountry and helping to develop a new trap camera program that will be offered to other high school classes this upcoming school year. Dana Hills High School Advanced Placement Environmental Science Teacher, Dolores Dang Wright, led the students in the scientific research project during their junior year.

Having worked with trap cameras for an entire year, student Kyle Small knows just how valuable an observation tool they are for scientists. “The trap camera experience at Crystal Cove helped us become more familiar with the equipment that we’re using now [in Mankwe Wildlife Reserve],” he says. “It’s all about conservation in both places, we want to make sure the wildlife back home and the wildlife here are still around in twenty years.”

Linking CCA’s education and local conservation work to the global conservation community highlights the significance of this project for Sara. “The project let the students take what they learned from conducting research in Crystal Cove State Park and apply it in a reserve on the opposite side of the world,” she says. “It emphasizes how everything is connected, and how everyone can make a difference by taking action on a local level, no matter if local is Orange County or South Africa.”

Congratulations to the Global Sustainability team on an incredibly successful year! Videos from their expedition can be found below.

Article, Photos and Video Credits:
Danny Feliciano, wrote and edited the article and edited the videos.
Sara Ludovise, took the photos and videos.

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The Picerne Family Foundation