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Renowned Conservationist Inspires Unity Students with Insights on Wildlife Care in Africa

Professor Wouter Van Hoven’s Visit Highlights the Vital Role of Environmental Wellbeing in Safeguarding Africa’s Wildlife and Communities

Professor Van Hoven presents in front of a classroom of Hybrid Learning students at Unity's New Gloucester campus.
Professor Van Hoven presents his research on wildlife care and wellbeing in Southern Africa.

Prominent wildlife conservationist, Professor Wouter Van Hoven, recently visited Unity Environmental University’s Pineland Campus to present his insights on “Wildlife Care in Southern Africa: Environmental Wellbeing, the Key to Wildlife Wellbeing in Africa.” The event, attended by Unity Hybrid Learning students and members of the Unity Enterprise, highlighted the pivotal role of environmental and habitat management in safeguarding Africa’s wildlife while benefiting local communities.

Professor Van Hoven shared his extensive experience working with EcoLife in South Africa and the transformative expeditions they lead, all aimed at promoting harmony between wildlife and the environment.

The presentation emphasized how environmental conservation is intrinsically tied to the well-being of Africa’s unique wildlife. Professor van Hoven underscored the importance of sustainable habitat management in preserving diverse species, many of which are endangered or at risk due to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflicts.

One of the key takeaways from Professor van Hoven’s presentation was the integral role that hands-on skill development plays in shaping the future of conservationists and environmentalists.

“Unity Environmental University offers incredible experiential learning opportunities for its students to work on real-world conservation projects in Africa and other parts of the world,” said Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships Wendi Richards. “These opportunities extend far beyond conventional academic exercises, as they empower students to actively engage in transformative, real-world conservation projects across diverse ecosystems.”

A student in a ball cap stands to ask Professor Van Hoven a question during the Q&A session.
Professor Van Hoven listens to a student’s question during the Q&A session.

During the Q&A session that followed the presentation, students exhibited their eagerness to learn more about conservation efforts in Africa and the opportunities available to them. Their questions ranged from the practical aspects of wildlife conservation to the challenges faced by conservationists in the field.

The event not only deepened students’ appreciation for the intricate relationship between environmental well-being and wildlife conservation but also inspired them to consider hands-on learning experiences as an important part of their educational journey.

Unity President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury passionately underscored the transformative potential of such experiences, illuminating how they can expansively widen students’ horizons and bestow upon them a profound comprehension of the worldwide resonance of their endeavors. He conveyed, “Engaging in opportunities to explore and acquire knowledge in a destination like South Africa transcends the boundaries of one’s specialized field; it fosters a profound understanding of diverse cultures.”

Students sit in a classroom at Unity's New Gloucester campus as they listen to Professor Von Hoven present.
During the presentation, students listen to the professor in a classroom on Unity’s New Gloucester campus.

Unity Environmental University’s Pineland Campus continues to serve as a hub of inspiration and learning, nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards and conservation leaders. Professor Van Hoven’s visit exemplified the university’s commitment to providing students with access to global experts and opportunities that can shape their future careers while making a positive impact on the world’s environment and wildlife.

Learn more about the work being done to connect our students with organizations across the country and around the globe by visiting