Advanced Chimposium Experience

As a first year graduate student, I am fortunate to be involved in CHCI’s docent program. Docents assist in staffing and leading CHCI’s public educational workshops called Chimposiums. As a graduate student, I also have the opportunity to present the day long workshops offered once a month, the Advanced Chimposiums. One requirement before becoming an Advanced Chimposium presenter is that I must attend as a guest first. Since our Advanced Chimposium season is now under way, I attended the first workshop I could (in April) to ensure I would be able to present the following month.
I am currently a presenter for our one-hour weekend Chimposiums, so I am familiar with the type of information that is presented in the workshops. I assumed that since I was familiar with this information, I might find some of the topics covered in the Advanced Chimposium repetitive. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case at all. As a guest, I was very impressed with the detail and knowledge that each student showed regarding each lecture topic. As well as being very well informed, they were well prepared for guests’ questions about a range of issues. The lectures maintained my interest the entire time because of the fact that the presenters were so passionate about what they were discussing. I can only imagine what this experience would be like for an individual that knows very little about chimpanzees in general!

The Advanced Chimposium also includes two additional twenty-minute visits with the chimpanzees and the opportunity to observe the chimpanzees’ dinner via closed circuit camera. Each visit brought with it a new opportunity for interaction and learning that, as a guest, I would greatly appreciate. Dinner, narrated by another student, was a treat as well!

Here a graduate student leads one of the visits with the chimpanzees:
docent loulis.jpgThroughout the informative lectures, there were also moments that tugged at my heart…anyone that has been to one knows exactly what I am talking about! I would highly recommend anyone wanting to expand their knowledge of chimpanzees, what’s threatening their well being, and how we can help to attend an Advanced Chimposium. I promise you will not be disappointed! To find out more about the 2011 Advanced Chimposium season and how to make reservations check out our website.
Here a student volunteer serves dinner in the nighttime enclosure:DSCF2293.JPG


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