Monthly Archives: June 2013

Building the Future: Residents of Mwatate Get A Taste Of Wildlife Works REDD

Residents of the town of Mwatate have joined the other Taita County communities who can say, without a doubt, that environmental conservation pays well. The latest project funded by carbon credits, which was officially opened on June 8th, is expected to increase the community’s enthusiasm for taking care of the environment.

The project involved building a modern classroom at Mwatate secondary school, which cost approximately $10,000 (Ksh 800,000). Taita Taveta County’s Deputy Governor, Mrs. Mary Digha, was guest of honor at the event and hailed the classroom, which can accommodate up to 40 students, as being in line with the Ministry of Education’s specifications for building classrooms.

Grand Opening

“The Kenya Ministry of Education requires that classrooms be large enough to accommodate many students who are joining the public schools,” Mrs. Digha said.

Mrs. Mary Digha (left) Deputy Governor Taita-Taveta County, with Mrs. Lenjo-headmistress, Mwatate Secondary School during the opening of the building.

Mrs. Mary Digha (left) Deputy Governor Taita-Taveta County, with Mrs. Lenjo-headmistress, Mwatate Secondary School during the opening of the building.

The new classroom at Mwatate Secondary School is just the icing on the cake. There are numerous other Wildlife Works projects currently in progress around the towns of Mwatate and Mwachabo. The projects include the construction of a classroom valued at $9,000 at Mngama Primary School, the construction of a staff room, classroom and toilet facilities at Shigadi ya Mwemba Primary School, the building of a water chamber and rehabilitation of the existing water pipeline at Ngangu and the allocation of school bursaries to needy students.

Mngama Primary School will receive a new classroom.)

Mngama Primary School will receive a new classroom.

The Residents of Mwatate have also applauded the speed at which Wildlife Works responded to an emergency that left one school in the area without a roof. Muzanwenyi Primary School was at the receiving end of a gusty wind that left it roofless, calling for the intervention of our skilled builders. Wildlife Works deployed a team to carry out the repairs, and the construction team is still camping at the school until they finish installing a more reinforced roof.

Roofless School

After a windy storm left Muzanwenyi Primary School without a roof, Wildlife Works sent a construction team to repair the school.

After a windy storm left Muzanwenyi Primary School without a roof, Wildlife Works sent a construction team to repair the school.

In total, the Mwatate community, which joined the Wildlife Works REDD+ Carbon Project in 2011, has been able to initiate projects worth more than $150,000 in the past year with a high percentage of this amount going towards offering bursaries to students. Funding for these projects and bursaries is obtained directly from the sale of carbon credits. There is therefore a need for the community to continue protecting trees and looking after the local wildlife-rich Mgeno Ranch, in Mwatate.

Wildlife Works Voted Best Project Developer in Forestry

Wildlife Works Carbon LLC was voted best project developer in the forestry category of Environmental Finance and Carbon Finance Magazine’s Voluntary Carbon Market Rankings 2013. The first prize honor was decided through a vote of more than 700 members of the voluntary carbon trade.

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The industry rankings recognized the pioneering achievements of Wildlife Works’ REDD+ projects in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Wildlife Works currently manages the protection of 1.2M acres of threatened forest that generates 5M tonnes of REDD+ carbon credits on behalf of landowners and 150K people from the local communities.

REDD+, an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, is an essential climate change mitigation strategy envisioned by the United Nations designed to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests. The “+” represents economic alternatives that provide numerous benefits to local communities who are engaged to participate in protecting their forest for an initial period of 30 years.

According to Mike Korchinsky, Founder and CEO Wildlife Works, “We attribute our success in this year’s rankings by focusing on doing the right thing – no matter how challenging – to ensure REDD+ remains true to its promise to make standing forests more valuable alive than dead for the benefit of forest communities, forest governments and for the planet.”

Korchinsky went on to say, “The way to protect threatened forests is through community engagement where local people receive multiple benefits through conservation-related jobs.”

Each year, 7B tonnes of C02 are released into the atmosphere as 35M acres of forest are destroyed due to slash and burn agriculture, legal and illegal logging and charcoal production. Deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming. Climate scientists broadly agree that the environment cannot be stabilized without protecting threatened forests.

Protecting threatened forests under a REDD+ program generates offsets or carbon credits that when sold, pay for the cost to leave a forest standing instead of going up in smoke. These REDD+ offsets can be used by companies to counterbalance their unavoidable emissions.

Notable corporations who reduce unavoidable emissions through support of Wildlife Works REDD+ projects include; Microsoft, Allianz, UPS, La Poste, Kering (Gucci, YSL, PUMA…) Barclay’s Bank, BNP Paribas and Marks & Spencer.

Proceeds from the sale of Wildlife Works REDD+ carbon credits are shared with landowners and the local community. “We have established a sustainable and scalable business model that delivers unprecedented environmental and social benefits to seriously impoverished parts of Africa and the world that are in need of the transformational change that Wildlife Works REDD+ projects can bring,” said Korchinsky.

Community members work as seamstresses making organic cotton T-shirts in the Wildlife Works eco-factory

 

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In addition to winning first place in the forestry category, Wildlife Works won second place for Best Project Developer in the overall category that included developers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, forestry and health.

All work and no play? Wildlife Works donates Phys. Ed. clothing to students!

Physical Education is an important part of the curriculum that we offer to children who attend our on-site nursery at Wildlife Works at our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. Unfortunately, too often a lack of play clothes hinders the children’s full participation, and dusty school uniforms only add to the parents’ burdens.

To increase participation in our P.E. program, Wildlife Works has decided to donate two t-shirts and a pair of shorts to each student. The clothing was manufactured at our eco-factory, where many of the students’ parents are employed. Each item is made of cotton and features the Wildlife Works’ elephant logo.

The new play clothes were received with joy and appreciation by parents, students and teachers alike! The items will not only let the children exercise and play in comfort, but will also ease the burden on parents who have had to wash extremely dusty school uniforms. By donating the clothes, Wildlife Works also hopes to extend the durability of the kids’ school uniforms, which will go a long way in reducing parent’ expenses.

As we continue to look after the needs of our community members, we wish the children a happy day. After all, all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull child!

Students play in their new Wildlife Works P.E. clothes

Students play in their new Wildlife Works P.E. clothes

Students enjoy their new P.E. clothes

Students enjoy their new P.E. clothes

Kindergarten students enjoy their new P.E. clothes

Kindergarten students enjoy their new P.E. clothes

Smiling faces!

Smiling faces!

Students show off their new white Wildlife Works t-shirts and shorts.

Students show off their new white Wildlife Works t-shirts and shorts.

Students show off their new black Wildlife Works t-shirts and shorts.

Students show off their new black Wildlife Works t-shirts and shorts.

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About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

Wildlife Works looks to the birds to better understand climate change

As part of a long-term study to determine whether climate change is affecting bird populations, a Wildlife Works team hiked up Mt. Kasigau in Southeast Kenya to monitor the local wildlife and collect data on the many species of native and migratory birds. Wildlife Works has been conducting these expeditions three times per year for the past two years. The thinking behind this, is that global warming could cause birds to abandon their natural homes and move higher up the mountain or perish.

Mt. Kasigau

Mt. Kasigau

Hiking up Mt. Kasigau’s iconic humpback outcrop to conduct a bird monitoring expedition is no simple matter. A small team traveling at a leisurely pace with no luggage could reach the top of Mt. Kasigau in roughly 3 hours, but when you add bird-ringing equipment, bamboo poles, mist nets and camping equipment the journey becomes much more cumbersome.

The Wildlife Works team began their climb from the foothills of a small village called Kiteghe and set up four ringing stations from the mountain’s base to its peak.

Bird ringing, also known as bird banding, is a technique used in the study of wild birds by attaching a small, individually numbered tag to a bird’s wing or leg so that various aspects of the bird’s life can be measured and studied. Ornithologists use the tags to identify the same bird over a period of time and gain information on migration patterns, population studies, feeding behavior, territoriality and more.

Wild birds are carefully captured in mist nets, which are typically made of a fine nylon mesh suspended between two poles and resemble oversized volleyball nets, and fitted with a lightweight ring of suitable size. The rings are designed to have no adverse effect on the birds, in fact the whole basis of using rings to gather data is that ringed birds behave identically in all respects as the non-ringed population.

Eurasian Scops Owl

Eurasian Scops Owl

The Wildlife Works team began their first day by setting up 12-meter nets at the base of Mt. Kasigau at 6:00 in the morning, ringing birds until noon, and packed up the equipment to travel up the mountain to the next station. For over a week the team carefully caught, ringed and released a total of 119 birds of 25 different species.

During this expedition the team got to see Nightingales, Eurasian Scops Owls and Spotted Flycatchers, which all migrate to Africa from Europe. They caught many Plain Nightjars and Ashy Flycatchers, which are species native to Kenya. The highlight of the season was seeing a huge number of fledged young chicks wearing their very first coats of un-molted feathers!

Peters's Twinspot

Peters’s Twinspot

According to our Wildlife Works’ team, any changes will take place over a period of ten years, so it is important that we continue to collect data. In the meantime, this research is a great indicator of biodiversity levels on Mt. Kasigau. We will continue to study the wildlife in and around our REDD+ project area, and continue to fight against climate change.

* * * * * * * * *

About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

WHAT IS WILDLIFE WORKS?

Protecting + Forests + Wildlife + Community since 1997.

Wildlife Works is the world's leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world's forests.