Agriculture students awarded for Milking the Rhino video

Posted: January 19, 2012

Three Penn State agriculture students were recognized for their research and design of a short video for the Milking the Rhino: Innovative Solutions Showcase at the University Park campus on November 16, 2011.
Alex Gren, (left), Elise Brown, (center), & Nicole O’Block, (right)

Alex Gren, (left), Elise Brown, (center), & Nicole O’Block, (right)

Elise Brown, graduate student in agricultural and Extension education, Alex Gren, senior in wildlife and fishery science, and Nicole O’Block, senior in agricultural science with international agriculture and leadership development minors, won the Best Use of Indigenous Knowledge category with their video outlining a solution to prevent the cattle disease nagana. Their solution involved the cultivation of garlic for the Maasai people to use as an insecticide for their livestock. Brown, Gren and O’Block were recognized for their knowledge of Maasai culture and their solution incorporating aspects of that culture.

The Milking the Rhino competition is inspired by the award-winning documentary of the same name that highlights environmental conservation in Africa. The film tells the stories of the Maasai and Himba communities as they strive to use and protect natural resources to break out of poverty. The phrase “milking the rhino” describes how the communities are working to benefit both themselves and the wildlife that surround them.

The competition invites student teams from across the world to create a video that pitches a solution to a problem faced by the Maasai or Himba peoples regarding wildlife and natural resource management, conservation and sustainability. The three-minute video is rated by an interdisciplinary panel of judges.

The Milking the Rhino: Innovative Solutions Showcase is hosted by the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program at Penn State. Sponsors include the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK), Marjorie Grant Whiting Center for Humanity, Arts and the Environment, Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Office of Student Activities, Center for Global Studies, School of International Affairs & the Dickinson School of Law, and Johnson and Johnson.

The students completed this activity as part of an assignment in AEE 440 Communication Methods and Media class in the College of Agricultural Sciences. 
For more information on the competition, visit