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Kate Thompson

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Photo courtesy Kate Thompson. Tanzania, Africa.

Katharine (Kate) Thompson is published, freelance scientific illustrator and a student in the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences at Stony Brook University. Based in New York, she focuses on humanitarian aid and human-wildlife conflict. Her dissertation research will use a combination of ethnographic interviews, dietary journals, and zooarcheological resources to understand the factors that drive the hunting and consumption of wild animals in Madagascar. Thompson believes that addressing the needs and priorities of local populations (including food security, access to medical and educational institutions, and safe and reliable employment) is vital to advancing conservation efforts, both in Madagascar and around the world.  

Thompson is the founder and executive director the Amani Foundation, which benefits and runs Amani Children’s Home in northern Tanzania. Amani Children’s Home is located within walking distance of Lake Manyara National Park, two hours from Lake Tarangire National Park, and half a day’s drive from the Serengeti National Park and Ngorogoro Conservation Areas. The surrounding community faces high rates of human-wildlife conflict and persistent poaching (featured in the 2015 documentary “The Ivory Game”). Therefore, Amani Children’s Home and Amani Foundation are in a prime location to help children develop environmental sensitivity and a knowledge of the wildlife around them as well as engage the broader, predominantly Maasai community in a dialogue on human-wildlife co-existence.

As a Kalpana Launchpad Fellow, Thompson plans to 1.) start programs that educate children about the local ecosystems and their role in the protection of them, and 2.) invest in lasting resources that will allow students to continue their pursuit of knowledge after the educational programs have concluded. Thompson also plans translate and show educational movies to the local community, in hopes of sparking a dialogue about wildlife and conservation across generations and along the front lines of hunter-wildlife conflict in the Northern Circuit.