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My name is Cara Brook, and I hail from California’s San Francisco Bay Area. I graduated from Stanford University in June of 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Systems, an interdisciplinary Stanford-specific program that combines study of the natural and physical sciences with environmental economics and policy.
My focus within Earth Systems was conservation biology, and after haunting the WWF website for years, I decided to apply to Explore! as I was finishing up my undergraduate studies. I wanted to take my academic studies into the field and discover how conservation and sustainable development are realized in the actual world. I love hiking, backpacking, and just generally being outside, and in my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and thinking of creative ways to communicate science. WWF Explore! Madagascar provided me with the unique opportunity to pursue all of these passions by taking me outside to some of the most wild, remote places on Earth and providing me with the tools to reflect on and communicate my learning to the rest of the world. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.
Thinking of applying to Explore!?
Go for it!
My three months in Madagascar changed my life in more ways than I can count. And if you are one of the lucky ones, if you are selected, if you are granted the golden opportunity take part in Explore!, try not to develop too many expectations before your arrival in country. Life in the developing world is unpredictable at best, and an open and curious mind and a patience and willingness to try and test anything and everything will be your best companions. The pace of life in Madagascar is “mora mora”, meaning that things move slowly there, but if you can accept and embrace that and use the time while waiting for things to happen to think and observe and reflect, you will learn more than I could ever adequately explain. Be ready for minimal sanitation, long hiking days, and hot sun, and be prepared for mud deep as your waist, leeches latched around your socks like an anklet, and burrowing fleas under your toenails. Be willing to sacrifice your privacy for the next three months, and be game for your world view to alter because this experience will change you unlike anything you’ve ever taken part in before.


An open and curious mind and a patience and willingness to try and test anything and everything will be your best companions.

WWF agent Andrjy and Explorers Kuni and Ranto hiking in the Vondrozo Forest Corridor. Tanambao, ... 
© WWF / Cara Brook
WWF agent Andrjy and Explorers Kuni and Ranto hiking in the Vondrozo Forest Corridor. Tanambao, Madagascar
© WWF / Cara Brook

Contact me!

To find out more feel free to email me!

And now?
Just a few short weeks after my return from Madagascar, I find myself back in Africa, though on the continent this time.
I am currently working as a biological research assistant and project manager for a Stanford and Smithsonian Institution-affiliated project examining wildlife loss, land use change, and human infectious disease risk in East Africa. I’m based out of Mpala Research Centre, Kenya, and though I find myself in a very science-focused environment, our project crosses interdisciplinary boundaries, too, as all conservation-focused efforts should. In addition to trapping rodents and identifying diseases across the savanna of central Kenya and northern Tanzania, I am also teaching weekly environmental education classes to the local public, blogging about my experiences, and doing my best to add Swahili to my African language repertoire, alongside the basic Malagasy I learned with WWF.

I’ll be here for almost a year, and after that, who knows? At some point, I’d like to find myself back in Madagascar to finish up some of the work we started with Explore!, and graduate school is out there, too, somewhere on the horizon.

My blog

Read more about my adventures on the African continent

Madagascar: Risk & Possibility
Volunteers from the 2010 Vondrozo, Madagascar team discuss risk and possibility for Madagascar's environmental future.
Madagascar: le Risque & la Possibilité
Version française
Un documentaire qui discute l'histoire environnementale de Madagascar et ce qu'on peut prévoir au futur à condition qu`on fasse de bons choix.
My photos