This summer, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Harvey Pine shared his expertise in aquaculture with agricultural extension agents in Senegal as part of a volunteer project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. And, as a bonus, he donated a set of Colby-Sawyer soccer uniforms to a local youth group.
During his two-week trip with the philanthropic nonprofit Winrock International, Pine trained approximately 30 extension agents from across Senegal in the process of aquaculture, the farming of fish and other aquatic organisms.
The west African country of Senegal faces significant food security and economic challenges, many of which have been exacerbated by recent urbanization. Aquaculture has emerged as one way for Senegal to produce additional food sources and improve its undeveloped agriculture sector.
While the agents Pine worked with had some background in the field, he helped them update their techniques and troubleshoot problems. They also requested that Pine instruct them on specific topics, such as local feed formulation for the fish and water quality.
“It’s fun to problem solve and find local solutions to some of the challenges,” said Pine.
The agents Pine trained will go on to teach smallholder farmers their new skills, passing Pine’s training to the communities that will directly benefit from producing their own additional food.
Pine has taught a variety of courses within the Department of Environmental Studies, including the Marine Communities class with his field studies component on Martha’s Vineyard, which relied heavily on his background in aquaculture.
Pine joined the faculty in 2008 and holds advanced degrees in fisheries and allied aquacultures from Auburn University. He served in the Peace Corps in Zambia and has returned to Africa several times. He always brings back new information and experiences to enhance his teaching at Colby-Sawyer.
“These service projects renew my passion for aquaculture and encourage me to pursue it here,” explained Pine. “I’ve worked with several students now, and I think some of the most successful Capstones are the ones related to aquaculture because the students and I get so passionate about it.”
Soccer in Senegal
Before leaving for Senegal, Pine recalled a memory from his own undergraduate experience.
“I went to a small college like Colby-Sawyer College,” said Pine, “and one of my biology professors traveled to Peru. He brought old uniforms from the soccer team, and I remember him telling me how much the Peruvians valued them.”
When Winrock invited Pine to go to Senegal, he wanted to do something similar. Soccer is bigger in Senegal than in other African countries Pine has visited, perhaps in part because of Sadio Mané, a Sédhiou native who is a professional winger with Liverpool. With help from co-Director of Athletics Bill Foti and Head Soccer Coach Charles Metz, Pine secured 11 uniforms — enough for one team — and chose a local soccer group stationed near his training site to receive the uniforms.
During a ceremony the group organized to honor the donation, Pine told them he teaches at a small liberal arts college, which means intellectual pursuits are important but sports are also a significant part of campus life. His trip was, he said, especially meaningful because his dual mission to share both knowledge and athletic gear encapsulates Colby-Sawyer’s emphasis on teaching the whole person.