In 2005, Jay Vavra of High Tech High in San Diego and Oliver Ryder of the San Diego Zoological Society collaborated to create a conservation forensics course, instructing HTH students on species identification via DNA barcoding. Students studied African bushmeat trade and focused on identification of simulated bushmeat samples, using jerky from a range of species for the process. Advanced studies included experimental methods of DNA extraction and amplification as well as alternative means of DNA preservation for shipment of DNA from Africa. The next step in the study is establishing partnerships and education programs at Mweka College and other sites by bringing students to East Africa to build this novel conservation education program in Africa and to disseminate instructional material in the United States.
“These High Tech High students stand united with thousands of other committed young people who have learned, through their Roots & Shoots experience, the importance of using their lives to try to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment. These are the young leaders of today who will soon be moving out into the adult world, armed with facts and not just theories, citizens who will be prepared to find solutions for difficult problems by keeping open minds, listening to the different opinions, and then making decisions based on an understanding of the whole picture. These students know when to stop talking, roll up their sleeves and take action.”
“If only the rest of America were as interested, informed, and dedicated as your students, this country could readily solve its environmental problems. I do hope that all your students will in the future remain involved in and contribute to conservation.”