Mazingira Grant funds students’ global environmental study

Created: July 19, 2017  |  Last Updated: August 3, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (July 19, 2017) – Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students are environmental stewards across the world.

The Mazingira Fund, an endowment that funds W&J students’ original projects designed to promote environmental conservation and sustainability, makes that stewardship possible. With guidance from a faculty advisor(s), students submit thorough project proposals and arrange their own travel.

“While the Mazingira Grant is focused on environmental issues, we fund projects in the broadest sense of the term,” said Director of the Environmental Studies Program Robert East, Ph.D. “It has become increasingly common for students to complete a Magellan Project to explore possibilities in a particular country or region, then secure Mazingira funding to return to that area and focus on a specific environmental research project.”

Elizabeth Bean ’18 was recently funded to conduct research toward building a feline conservation and management plan for the Osa Peninsulas in Costa Rica. Her results will contribute to her senior capstone thesis.

“The Mazingira Grant gave me the opportunity to live in the most remote coastal jungle in Costa Rica and conduct a project to monitor the big cat populations on the Osa Peninsula using camera traps,” Bean said, noting she’s been able to capture amazing photos of the wildlife, some of which are showcased on her Instagram account, jungle.thrills. “Even the owner of The Jaguar’s Jungle (the lodge where Bean is staying and working) who grew up on this exact property was stunned by some of the videos that I have captured.”

Because of opportunities from W&J, Bean has been able to work with her project for seven months and gather enough data to help her make significant observations. She says she’s learned a lot about the species she’s captured on her photo traps at the University of Costa Rica: Golfito and she feels she has gained a new appreciation for the natural world as well as a trove of stories to bring home with her. Bean will showcase video and photos she has captured during a presentation at W&J this fall.

The Mazingira Fund is just one way the Environmental Studies program is sending Presidents into the field. Learn more about internship opportunities and LIASE on our Environmental Studies page.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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