Students conduct research and explore in South Africa

Seventeen RE upper school students explored the history, reefs and wildlife of South Africa and conducted extensive scientific surveys in Somkhanda Game Reserve during a multi-faceted, three-and-a-half week visit centered on conservation and climate research in June and July.
Starting in Johannesburg with a stay at Nelson Mandela’s home while he was president, the students and faculty leaders visited the apartheid museum, Constitution Hill and other historic sites before heading to the Zululand district of KwaZulu Natala for a conservation research expedition through Operation Wallacea. 

Under the direction of scientists, they conducted mammal distribution surveys, bush vegetation surveys and bird point count surveys while enjoying the opportunity to view lions, giraffes, white rhinos, nyala, impala, warthogs and more. In the second week, they went diving in the UNESCO World Heritage site iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Sodwana Bay. They also took an Indian Ocean reef ecology course and went scuba diving in pristine coral reefs in South Africa’s largest marine protected area. 

During the final week, the students – Adi Chandran Arul ’26, Tei Asghar ’24, Aaliyah Yasmeen Asghar ’26, Olivia Simone Augustin ’26, Matias Dovarganes ’26, Derek Alexander Lamar ’26, Lucas Lippey ’25, Gaby Caridad Martinez ’24, Jack Curtis McCarron ’26, Bridget Katherine Mestepey ’26, Bella Sayfie Ranawat ’26, Sofia Rakhimi ’25, Mateo Andres Sauceda ’26, Santi Eduardo Sauceda ’24, Nina Tekriwal ’25, Theo Alejandro Valles ’25 and Téa Patrizia Vallone ’24 – and teachers Kelly Jackson and Gustavo Palacios flew to Cape Town and visited the Cape of Good Hope. There the students went diving in a kelp forest, swam with several varieties of shark, went whale watching and observed penguins and ostriches.

The adventure ended with a visit to Robben Island, Langa Township, and an evening volunteering with a local soup kitchen Ladles of Love where RE contingent prepared and served more than 300 meals.  
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.