Today I was witness to a school field trip program like no other. Some of you may have meet Julian Fennessy, Co. Founder and Co. Director of The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, based in Namibia. Julian was one of our conservation speakers in October for our “Year of the Giraffe” campaign. The Living Desert supports the great work of Julian and GCF. I had the opportunity to spend the day with Rachel de Raan, Environmental Education Coordinator and her staff from GCF. I participated in a run through of their school program called (KEEP). The Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) is an exciting initiative of GCF in Namibia. KEEP is a field-based environmental education programme that allows young people to reconnect with nature. KEEP builds environmental awareness, social responsibility and action in Namibian 3rd and 4th graders. KEEP aims to inspire students to care for their environment by helping them better understand the impacts their lifestyle has on the fragile ecosystems around them. Giraffe serve as a model specimen to illustrate the general concept of adaptation to our immediate environment, i.e. how we can adapt to live more sustainable and energy efficient. The programme is closely linked to the Namibian national school curriculum, and students and teachers engage with topics from their syllabus and apply concepts that are already familiar from the classroom, while spending a day in the bush in a fun, interactive and hands-on experience. KEEP gets them out of the classroom
and back into nature! I’m sure we’ll be adapting some of the good lessons learned from the GCF education team, here at home.
After checking camera traps and observing tracks, scat, giraffe nap spots, viewing and studying whats left of numerous wildlife carcuses, it was abvious to see the value in the GCF education programs. I’ll have to say there were more than one encounters today that left me wondering why we were hiking in an active wildlife game reserve. Fresh leopard and hyena tracks and scat, not to mention the loud snorting of a wildebeest and the warthog running past me, we’re just a couple of signs i was not in California anymore.