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Traveling Teacher

TRAVELING TEACHER: To teach world geography well and to keep students interested, one should occasionally leave the safe confines of home and go see the world, experiencing life in a foreign land. Hingham Middle School teacher Amanda Wonson is doing just that this July in what she says will be an adventure of a lifetime.

The world geography teacher is scheduled to travel to Kenya under the Earthwatch Institute's Education Fellowship Program. She'll take part in the institute's conservation research initiative programs, including the Samburu Wildlife and Communities project, an opportunity made possible through a grant from the Sheehan Family Foundation.

``I'll get to be in the midst of a lot of things doing this research," said Wonson, a second-year teacher in Hingham who previously taught in Brockton. ``We'll be talking to people about the environment, how poverty affects people there, that sort of thing."

The goal of the project is to work with locals in the Samburu-Laikipia region of Kenya to assess land use and develop sustainable conservation strategies. Researchers study human land use, water resources, and wildlife, such as lions and Grevy's zebras, to find out where people and nature are in conflict in the aptly named ``Carnivores in Conflict" component of the program.

``Lions and other predators attack livestock at night, so then herders kill the predators and that's bad for conservation," said Wonson. ``The program looks at tracking the predators to figure out patterns and stopping the predators from killing livestock by altering patterns."

Another part of the project will look at water resources and how to make them safe for human consumption, she said.

Aside from the importance of the research, the involvement will be valuable to her as a teacher, said Wonson, a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar several years ago who still talks about that experience with her students.

``They're getting a little bored with that," she said with a laugh. ``It's time to give them something new."

Getting it from someone who's been there helps youngsters learn, she said. ``They like seeing these places and talking about it with someone who's been there," she said. ``It's not just reading about it in a book. It gives you as a teacher a little bit of credibility."

Wonson will head to Kenya with a list of animals students have asked that she photograph, and she will put them on a blog at wonsonkenya.blogspot.com. For more information on the Earthwatch Institute, including how to join a research team, visit www.earthwatch.org.

ACADEMIC NOTES: Wareham High School senior Mary Monast has been awarded a $2,500 National Merit Achievement Scholarship. The National Achievement Program was established in 1964 specifically to honor young African-American scholars . Monast was one of 800 Achievement Scholarship winners selected from more than 130,000 student applicants nationwide. She is scheduled to attend New York University as a finance major in the fall, she said.

WALK THE WALK: EXIT Realty of New England is scheduled to host its second annual 3K Walk to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth this Sunday, with registration starting at 8 a.m. at Benny's on Court Street, Plymouth. The walk is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Entrance fee is $20 per person but is waived for those bringing $100 in pledges. For information, call Janet Spaulding at EXIT Tristar Realty, 508-846-2202.

TOP PHOTOG: Bill Brett of Hingham, a retired Boston Globe photographer who still shoots for the newspaper, has been given the President's Award by the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts for his book, ``Boston: All One Family." Brett accepted the award at the Urban League's 14th annual awards gala.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Marshfield resident David Clough has joined Taylor Lumber/ACE Hardware in Marshfield as a hardware/customer service representative. Prior to joining Taylor, Clough worked for Walsh & Packard in Hingham.

Bill McCann of Smith Barney Citigroup Inc. has been named 2006 campaign chairman for the second year at the United Way of Greater Plymouth. McCann lives in Plymouth and is a Brockton native. Last year's United Way capital campaign drive garnered more than $1.4 million in pledges.

The Jordan Hospital Rehabilitation Center has opened at The Pinehills housing community in Plymouth. The center provides physical therapy services on an outpatient basis to residents of Plymouth and the surrounding area. Also seeing patients at the location is Dr. Thomas Browning, internal medicine specialist. The center is at 3 Village Green North at The Pinehills.

Chef Paul Olaf Livley of Wareham, a chocolatier, has been commissioned to provide 600 chocolate truffles to the 29th annual Boston/New England Emmy awards this Saturday at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. Livley said the truffles are chocolate butterscotch bourbon, ganache, and malted crunch rolled in native corn brittle. He said 150 of the confections will be wrapped in gold foil for the winners, with the rest wrapped in silver for take-home swag bags.

Waverly Oaks Golf Club in Plymouth has named Jeff Butler as the club's new golf pro. The club has been teaching golf on the South Shore for the past 10 years, Waverly Oaks officials said.

Deborah Jackson of Milton is to be inducted into the YWCA Boston's Academy of Women Achievers at the 12th annual Women's Leadership Event scheduled for Tuesday at the Sheraton Boston. Jackson is CEO of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, and her career in urban policy and community services has spanned 25 years. She's held executive positions in health and human services and has been senior vice president of Boston Children's Hospital and president and CEO of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries.

Jessica Riker has been named vice president of development at Caritas Norwood Hospital. Ann Marie Lyddy has been named performance improvement/risk management director at the hospital.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at kandarian@globe.com.

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