Friday, October 26, 2012
The African Wildlife Conservation Fund is based at Chishakwe for its operations throughout the Conservancy and sometimes throughout the region. Here is a fun blog from Rosemary Groom who is their field representative in the area.
Many thanks to Mr Houghton and Mr Bert who volunteered their time to make the trip a resounding success for all those concerned.
We, at Chishakwe, have done several school trips now and have never failed to find them rewarding as well as a lot of fun. We are looking forward to showing many more children and young adults around an uspoilt bush environment. After all we do what do so that one day they will be able to do the same for their children!
Look out for Rosemary's next article on this trip which we will publish soon.
Last weekend we had 34 students and 7 teachers from five different Harare-based Goverment schools visiting Chishakwe Ranch (where the AWCF field team is based) for a bush camp. The trip was the prize for the top schools that participated in the Wild Dog Awareness Day at Mukuvisi in August. They were great kids and we all had a fantastic time.
Early on the first morning, we took them out on a bush walk, in two groups. This was one of the highlights of the trip, which the kids loved. By the comments and discussion afterwards it was clear they had learned a lot. Professional guides Mark Houghton and Mr Bert kindly volunteered their time to allow us to conduct the walks safely and generously shared their immense bush knowledge with the kids.
They learned about trees, tracks, animal behaviour, bush survival, and radio tracking. Most kids got a turn to try radio tracking a hidden wild dog collar, which was great fun (they didnt know it was just a planted collar!)
Here they learned about crocodiles, water birds, and safety around rivers in the bush:
During a brief “quiet time” after the walk, we asked the kids to write down what they had learned or enjoyed most on the walks. Many of the answers showed they had really been listening, and all showed that they had enjoyed themselves. Here are a few examples of what was written:
Since we had a lot of interest in the baobabs and their uses, we took the students to the “Big Tree”. This is one of the largest baobabs in Zimbabwe, and we are lucky to have it on Chishakwe Ranch. The kids were awed by it’s size and amazed that it could take all 34 of them holding hands to encircle the base of the tree!
We had lots more other adventures, which I will post about in the next post. But I would like to say here a huge thank you to Chishakwe for not only providing great accommodatin for students and teachers, but for helping us out with some of their staff, including scouts to accompany us on walks, and their amazing Chef Stanford, who ably handled cooking for 45 people, and produced great meals.
Look out for the next post where we had kids racing cheetah times, working as packs of wild dogs to catch impalas, learning antipoaching tactics and going on game drives!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
This year National Parks headed up stakeholders involved in Rhino conservation for another parade through the center of town in Harare ending up in Africa Unity Square where a morning of music and fun all oriented around rhino was held.
Children from Muvava Primary School near Chishakwe in the South East Lowveld of Zimbabwe wore the special rhino hats they made for the occasion. For many of the children the trip to Harare was the first time they had gone on a bus so the city sights were really exciting for them!
Music at Africa Unity Square provided by the Police Band, Sulimani and his band and the Combined Grade 3 Hellenic choir.
This year sport was added to art and classroom education as another way to create awareness: In the afternoon Save Valley Conservancy worked with Mid West Rhinos ( a local cricket team) and a team of sporting experts including the Black Rhino Soccer team (whose bus was also on parade) to organise Rhinos at Play. The course consisted of 6 modules; cricket, tag rugby, soccer, tennis, hockey and a rhino education/quiz. The children spent about 30 minutes at each module with the emphasis being on fun. It was the first time that a lot of the children had been exposed to some of the sports and there was much hilarity ... and it was amazing how fast they picked up the concepts!
|The Crew from Muvava Primary School get ready to get active.|
|Soccer with Black Rhinos Soccer Team representatives|
|On the court for a spot of tennis.|
|Muvava children acing the Rhino Quiz Module|
|Some fun with the rhino limmerick|
|Tag rugby proved really popular|
|Learning the basics of how to handle a hockey stick|
|A lift in the smart Black Rhinos tour bus|