Part of Wildlife Works community empowerment strategy includes ensuring that underprivileged students get the chance to view their beautiful ecosystem and see wildlife in its natural habitat. Since March 2015, the Wildlife Works Community Relations Department at our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya has been running an education program for local students to tour the Wildlife Works diverse operations, learn about conservation at our Tsavo Discovery Center and experience wildlife firsthand.
Since the program started just over a year ago, over 25 schools have participated, bringing over 750 students through our curriculum. The aim is to eventually reach 80 schools in the area.
On 20th May 2016, Wildlife Works ran a trip for top performing students enrolled at Miasenyi Secondary School to attend one of our learning tours and safaris at Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. There were 28 students and two teachers making a total of 30 that visited the site from the school.
On their arrival at Wildlife Works, the students had the chance to interact with and learn from many of the departments such as: greenhouse, screen printing, eco factory, workshop and soap factory in a fun, interactive way.
Miasenyi Secondary School students getting a tour of the greenhouse
Students getting a tour of the eco factory
The students were later taken out on a game drive across the Sanctuary in the enormous 1962 French ‘Berliet’ Truck, now baptized ‘Beba Kuu’. From the height of this ultimate discovery vehicle, we spotted a whole herd of buffalo at the edge of a watering hole, a family of elephants including several young, many antelope species from one of the smallest (dik-dik) to the largest (eland), a few zebra, giraffe and warthogs which scuttled across the road in front of ‘Beba Kuu’.
Students aboard ‘Beba Kuu’ start their safari
Students looking out for game at the watering hole
The students were very excited at having seen so many different animals in their natural habitat, and all stood up in their seats pointing every time we came across a new species. You could feel their anxiety when seeing wildlife like buffalo and elephants during the trip.
Family of elephants spotted on the safari drive
The group also stopped at the Tsavo Discovery Center, an education center and eco lodge located between Tsavo East and West National Parks. Here, the students had a chance to visit the science lab and museum to learn about different animal skulls, amphibians, insects, and also the terrible consequences of poaching.
Checking out the museum at the Tsavo Discovery Center
Most rural schools in Kenya cannot afford to take their students on educational fieldtrips and most families cannot afford to pay extra funds to support extracurricular activities, therefore these trips that Wildlife Works has been running are critical for local youth to learn about and appreciate their environment.
You could feel the excitement from the Miasenyi students on the trip especially when they caught their first glimpses of wildlife, and they left promising to be part of wildlife and environmental conservation.
Happy Miasenyi Secondary School students at the end of the day