Sophomore Abby Campbell spent two weeks of her winter break traveling to West Africa with the Biology Department.
Campbell traveled to Gambia and Senegal while she conducted research on red colobus monkeys with the department for her Junior Journey. Florida Southern, along with many other colleges and universities, participated in this conservation initiative.
The group conducted education programs in local villages and schools and also got the chance to educate themselves about the West African culture. Abby appreciated how family oriented the culture was and noticed that each compound had lots of different generations of family members.
Campbell stayed in a hotel in the capital city for two-thirds of the trip and stayed in little villages in the country for the rest of the trip.
“It was interesting getting used to sleeping under mosquito nets, but it was a lot of fun,” Campbell said.
Her favorite part of the trip was visiting and experiencing the beauty of the Makasutu Culture Forest in Gambia and seeing the animals in their natural habitat. She enjoyed getting to know everyone else traveling with her as well.
Traveling to West Africa made Campbell realize how much light pollution there is in the United States. She said she could see the entire night sky, compared to the United States where there are often street lights creating light pollution blocking the view of the sky.
Campbell enjoyed and appreciated her trip to West Africa, but she became more aware of the resources that she has access to in the United States. She felt that she learned a lot not only about biology and conservation, but also things that some people in the states take for granted.
“On a more serious note, [I learned] how blessed we are to be in the states and how much access to technology and opportunity we have,” Campbell said.
Abby misses being able to look up and see all the stars, but is happy to be back home with family and friends. She is currently working on her degree in Psychology and Biology on a pre-dental track and would like to attend dental school after graduating from Florida Southern.