Research in Madagascar

It has always been a dream of mine to go to Madagascar.  When I was little we had a documentary of Madagascar on an old cassette tape that I would watch repeatedly.  I always dreamed of visiting the "Enchanted Island".  Years later, I now have the opportunity to spend a semester working on a research project in Madagascar!

This fall I will be working with a researcher from Virginia Tech: Brandon Semel (  He is studying the current and long-term impacts of deforestation, forest fragmentation, and the effects of a changing climate on the wildlife of Madagascar, particularly a species of endangered lemurs called sifaka that are only found on this island.  While I am there I will be working as a volunteer technician helping to estimate lemur abundance in different forest fragments as well as collecting samples for dietary and genetic anaylsis.  This will require me to do a lot of hiking through the forest.  I will be living in a tent in remote forest areas and eating lots of rice and beans!  

While we are there we will hire local Malagasy people as guides as well as cooks/camp managers, thus providing conservation-related jobs to people of the community.   I am currently making a field guide of the birds of Madagascar that Brandon will print and bind to give to those we are working with who cannot afford to buy a field guide.  

I am extremely excited and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to continue my education and learning experience in Madagascar and contribute to such an awesome, long-term project!

I am raising money to help pay for my plane ticket, food, water, and travel while I am there; gear and equipment I will need, as well as the salaries of some of the Malagasy people who will be working with us.  Please consider donating if you are able.  This will be a trip of a lifeime for me.

I would love to talk more about my semester in Madagascar if anyone would like to know more!  Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.  I can't wait for the adventure to begin!


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Aylett Lipford 
Tuckahoe, VA
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