Monkeying Around with Science: Conservation Biology Student Conducts Research Project with Primates
Undergraduate student Samantha Hebert shares her experience with the TCRC
A passion for conservation and animals led Samantha Hebert to a community-based research project with squirrel monkeys at Riverview Park and Zoo in Peterborough. With the Zoo, she worked on enrichment tools and techniques to compare the monkeys’ group dynamic in captivity with that in the wild.
"This experience has given me so many skills, not only working in the field, but also with coming up with a thesis and project proposals, and working with other people and share ideas and change the world," says Samantha, a Peter Gzowski College student studying Conservation Biology. “This is truly who I want to be and what I want to do.”
Through her placement project with the Trent Community Research Centre (TCRC), Samantha has gained invaluable skills in fieldwork, project proposals, data analysis, and more. "I would one hundred percent recommend this to anyone interested. It is completely life-changing," she adds.
Samantha has been breaking down enrichment tools and techniques into three categories - sensory, foraging, and social - to see how their group dynamic in captivity would compare to that in the wild. "I've noticed a few changes so far. It's really exciting to be able to share that information with the staff at the zoo," she added.
Samantha's experience is a testament to the value of TCRC, which offers students the chance to engage in community-based research projects that allow them to apply their skills and knowledge in real-world settings.
"It's about changing the world, one step at a time."