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Namibia: Great Cat Conservation

Experience ongoing research projects such as radio tracking, cheetah physiology, ecosystem management, and the design of school and community programs.

Course Overview

Travel to Namibia, Africa, with Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Miami University instructors to join the Zoo’s long-term partnership with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)–the global center of cheetah conservation worldwide. This course is primarily based at CCF headquarters and explores how conservation organizations can succeed while partnering with local communities to save wildlife. Ongoing research projects at CCF include radio tracking, cheetah physiology, ecosystem management, and the design of school and community programs in Namibia. Discover the power of inquiry to generate knowledge and inspire conservation. All students will have the chance to conduct an inquiry investigation of the local ecosystem, asking their own questions, collecting data, and presenting conclusions. Students may also participate in CCF field research including species behavioral studies, waterhole surveys, and full or new moon game counts. 

Prior to and following the field experience in Namibia, students will complete coursework via Dragonfly Workshops’ web-based learning community as they apply experiences to their home institutions and communities.

Course Details
In-person travel dates: Namibia I: June 12-22, 2023 
Namibia II: July 12-22, 2023

Students arrive at least one day before and depart on last day of course
On the Web: Pre-travel preparations prior to May 15, 2023
Summer course: May 16-August 11, 2023
Fall course: Late August- early December, 2023
Credits: Summer course: 5 graduate credits

Follow-on Fall course: 2 graduate credits

All Miami University credits can be applied to the GFP or AIP (or other programs if approved)
Costs: Summer course: $3,225* + your own airfare to Windhoek, Namibia.

Fall course: $790
* $3225 calculated as = $395 per credit tuition X 5 graduate credits + $1075 program fee + $175 Miami global fee

Course Themes

  • Introduction to the ecosystems of Namibia
  • Cheetah biology, ecology, and conservation
  • Ecology of top predators, particularly large cats
  • Community-based environmental education and action including understanding wildlife-friendly farming practices
  • Curricular development and educational leadership
  • Land use and conservancy management
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Participatory education

A typical day is likely to include:

  • Learning directly from CCF staff on program initiatives, operations, and field research methods
  • Visits to field conservation sites
  • Lectures from CCF staff, guest experts, and course facilitators
  • Student-led discussions of key course topics
  • Engagement with local communities
  • Open inquiries
  • Journal writing
James Maloney on an Earth Expeditions trip to Namibia


Namibia is located on the West Coast of southern Africa. It is a large country with a fascinating blend of African cultures and a modern infrastructure. The country gained its independence in 1990 and has a progressive constitution that provides for a democratic, secular state. Known for its dramatic environments, Namibia’s shifting sand dunes, fog-shrouded coasts, and grasslands remain a sanctuary for African wildlife.

Project Dragonfly applauds our 16-year partnership with CCF!

Project Dragonfly teams up with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to offer our Earth Expeditions Namibia course. In 2020, CCF celebrated their 30-year anniversary and Dragonfly was honored with the Distinguished Conservation Award for our work together.

Check out this short “thank you” video (<6-minutes) to learn more about CCF and how students are positively impacted by this Dragonfly course.

Dragonfly Workshops Web-Based Learning Community

Upon acceptance into the program, students will join instructors and classmates in Dragonfly Workshops’ collaborative web community to complete pre-trip assignments. After returning home, students will continue to work in their web-based community through early December to develop projects initiated in the field, discuss assignments, and exchange ideas. All students should expect to spend two to three hours a week contributing to their web-based learning community from their home or school computer. Navigating the web platform is easy–it’s designed for people with no prior computer experience. To learn more about this unique web experience, visit

Planned Sites

Google Earth map of Namibia with two locations marked. A second image shows the locations zoomed in and labeled Etosha National Park and Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)

Most of the course will take place at or around the Cheetah Conservation Fund headquarters located in the bushveld ecosystem of North Central Namibia — in the heart of cheetah territory. Under the leadership of Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF maintains a modern Research Center housing research facilities and a veterinary clinic, an Education Center, and a Visitor’s Center.

Etosha National Park

We will visit Etosha National Park, one of the world’s greatest wildlife-viewing locations, home to elephants, giraffes, zebras, springboks, elands, hyenas, lions, cheetahs, leopards, ostriches, and many other species.

(Course locations are subject to change.)

2023 Costs Include:

In addition to covering the price for five graduate credits of Miami University tuition, field course costs cover all basic expenses, including:

  • Meals (incidental snacks and drinks not included)
  • Lodging
  • Field station fees
  • Course activities (optional activities are not included)
  • Ground transportation (van, boat, train, etc., as needed)
  • Park entrance and guide fees

*NOTE: The Namibia course carries a required extra charge to cover additional course support costs.

Course costs do not cover personal expenses, such as airfare to the course, personal gifts, or ancillary costs, such as passport fees, country entry fees, required course readers, and any additional course texts.

Airfare: To estimate fares applicants may wish to visit an online fare finder or call a travel agent. Bear in mind that airlines have seasonal fluctuations in fares.

Miami University also requires all international workshop participants to purchase travel health insurance for about $40. (Successful applicants will receive more details in their web-based learning community course workshop.) In some classes an additional textbook is required. In some countries, you may have to pay entrance and departure taxes/fees at the airport.

Because of support from Miami University, the course costs listed above are a fraction of actual program costs. Earth Expeditions recommends that accepted applicants to the program check with their school district or employer to see if professional development funds are available to further offset costs. 

We offer some further ideas on Helping to Fund your Degree and Scholarships for Current Dragonfly Students

U.S. Students and Students Living Abroad

To support involvement by a broad range of professionals nationally and globally, Miami University discounts tuition for participants accepted to an Earth Expeditions graduate course. Applicants must be over the age of 18 and hold bachelor’s degrees. Upon successful completion of both the field and Web-based components of the Earth Expeditions course, participants earn seven graduate credit hours.

Students Seeking Undergraduate Credit

Undergraduate students at Miami University or elsewhere may apply for an Earth Expeditions course and earn five credits for the field component, with the option to complete two additional credits for the fall Web component. Normal Miami tuition rates apply, as do eligible summer tuition waivers and scholarships. Contact Project Dragonfly for more information.

Course Options for Miami Students

Are you a current Miami University undergrad or grad student interested in participating? Check out our Miami Students page to learn more about program requirements.

*Note that costs shown above are for graduate students only. Course costs for undergraduate students are based on each student’s tuition rate. If you have questions regarding your tuition promise rate, please contact the Bursar.


Do you have questions? Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page for some answers.

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