Brendan Buzzard

 

Prescott College Affiliation : Alumni

 

Program : On-Campus Undergraduate Programs

 

Graduation Year : 2006

 

MSc Conservation and Management, University of Oxford

Please provide a brief description of what you have been doing since graduation from Prescott College:

My activities are shaped by two interrelated goals.  The first is exploratory, an attempt to understand and communicate the elegance and raw vitality of humanity, while the second has been situated in practice, an effort to promote an equitable relationship with the land.  

Since I graduated from Prescott College, this process has materialized in various ways.  As a writer and communicator I investigated political violence and worked with a group of kids to publish a book about life on the streets in Zimbabwe, documented the role of land degradation and water scarcity in East Africa, and interpreted ethnic reconciliation in post-conflict Kosovo.  In 2009, as a Young Explorer of the National Geographic Society, I walked along the Ewaso Nyiro River that flows into the arid cultural-ecological landscapes of Northern Kenya to explore the borderlands of confrontation between culture, wildlife, and wider globalizing forces.  I am currently writing a book about this issue.

As a conservationist, I have worked on land management and wildlife issues in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, and Kenya.  Some of these experiences include being the field manager for a conservation area, promoting income-generation through the sustainable harvest and sale of honey and wild plants, integrating traditional livestock management practices into wildlife conservation activities, and monitoring the movements and behavior of elephants to aid landscape-scale conservation planning.

Currently, I am working towards my MSc in Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford.

You have been nominated as a Desert Star because of your significant contributions to your field and community. What inspires you to do this work?

I am inspired both by continuity and by urgency.  Having lived and worked in various parts of the world, I have learned to look for similarities that transcend political and economic boundaries.  Laughter, warmth, interaction with the land, these are some of the qualities of common ground, the necessary space that we must understand and co-create if we are to thrive as a species.  I am interested in finding this space, motivated by the capacity of conscious acts, and by the desire to utilize opportunity.  At the same time, my idealism has been kept grounded and focused by the drastic environmental impacts we are having and by a conviction that humanity depends on ecological integrity.    

How did your Prescott College education contribute to your accomplishments?

At Prescott, I did not feel like a student being taught, but rather a scholar invited to learn.  There is a deep difference between the two.  At Prescott I was given the freedom to imagine and pursue, to approach the world in a way that mattered to me, while learning the discipline, self-reliance, and responsibility that comes with engaging it.  These have been invaluable skills, critical in all that I have engaged.   

What is your advice to students who are interested in following a similar path?

See where you want to go, and go.  There is really no reason not to.

"At Prescott I was given the freedom to imagine and pursue, to approach the world in a way that mattered to me, while learning the discipline, self-reliance, and responsibility that comes with engaging it."

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