The Cross Continental Experience Blog by Clayton Richardson, CCMPH Student
Students in NYU’s CCMPH cohort are gearing up to start a two-week intensive environmental health course discussing the detection and control of waterborne pathogens. Therefore, it was only fitting that the cohort got in touch with nature by blazing a trail high above the rainforests floor. On a trip to Kakum National Park, one of Ghana’s largest nature reserves, the students traversed 1,000 feet of suspension bridges strung through a network of treehouses and faced their fears on a journey 130 feet above the ground. Unlike most national parks which are founded by the government, Kakum National Park was founded in 1931 by the local people, who appreciated the site for its rare beauty and wildlife. Less adventurous park explorers can view Diana monkeys, several avian species and the elusive African Forest Elephant, as well as the abundance of rare flora and fauna. Poaching is a large threat to the animals here, particularly the elephants, and The Wildlife Department of Ghana is taking the necessary steps to ensure their protection. Over the summer the cohort was taught an introductory course on environmental health by Dr. Jack Caravanos who highlighted the sanctions being lifted throughout the world on protected forests, and the dangers many delicate ecosystems face due to pollution and the inevitability of climate change. The knowledge gained in this course gave the students an informed appreciation for this once in a lifetime opportunity to see a landscape that may soon be extinct.