Kenya: Educational day

Update from our Africa volunteer project working on the Big Five and biodiversity in the Maasai Mara of Kenya

Wednesday saw the first local school education day of the Kenya 2023 expedition. We spent Tuesday afternoon planning the day and group 1 had some great ideas with activities planned to engage the students including discussions around human-wildlife conflict and poaching, hands-on demonstrations of scientific equipment and the processes we use to collect data.

The students were split into four groups named the Lions, Hippos, Elephants and Crocodiles. These names were chosen specifically as they are among the most prominent in terms of human-wildlife conflict. The morning was spent visiting the school in Emarti and meeting the excited students and teachers before heading into the conservancy for a game drive. This experience was eye-opening for us, as the vast majority of the students had not encountered the animals that live right on their doorstep. When we sighted a herd elephants, it was an emotional moment for the students and citizen scientists alike, many united in spotting their first elephants in the wild.

After lunch, the citizen scientists took the opportunity to explain the reasons drew them to visit Kenya and the Maasai Mara and offered insights into their home countries – many with stories of historic poor conservation and loss of wilderness. The students were especially interested in hearing about our lives back at home and everyone was happy to share photos and stories! After lunch (with the chefs continually trying to keep the buffet table topped up!) there were discussions around the relationships between humans and wildlife and the students offered their perceptions on the animals the four groups were named after. This was particularly insightful and provoked lively discussions between the students, citizen scientists and teachers. The citizen scientists were able to share their joy and enthusiasm for the sheer magnitude of biodiversity within Kenya with the students and teachers balancing the discussion with local concerns and conflicts.

Before the last activity there was a short talk and activity from Jane with everyone planting a tree and then onto the last activity – a gadget-filled hunt for camera traps placed nearby. After a short training session on compasses, GPS units and rangefinders, the students were given the clues to locate the camera traps. This activity was a hit and the students were enthralled and engaged throughout. Sadly for everyone this was the end of the day and time to return to Emarti school with full hearts and big smiles.

Update from our Africa volunteer project working on the Big Five and biodiversity in the Maasai Mara of Kenya

One Reply to “Kenya: Educational day”

  1. Sounds a wonderful day for you all. Nice to see happy smiling faces all round 🙂

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