Koketso S Mookodi, Great Plains Conservation’s Community Liaison Officer recaps the 3rd Annual Kids Conservation Camp held in our Botswana camps in December.
Once again this year, Great Plains Conservation hosted its third annual Kids Conservation Camp. To follow tradition, 20 kids from Gudigwa camp were driven from their school in Gudigwa village to Great Plains’ Selinda Explorers Camp on the banks of the drying Selinda Spillway.
The theme of this year’s camp focused around the importance of animals in terms of the ecosystem; the help that animals provide to people, as well as their importance to the Batswana culture. The aim of this amazingly important subject was intentionally brought forward in light of Botswana’s recent hunting ban. Our Great Plains Outreach team found the opportunity and setting ideal to bring up this sometimes difficult to discuss issue. It had become apparent to the team that this year’s Kids Camp needed to stress the incredible importance of animals, as well as help the kids realize the empathy that they already have for animals.
During the lessons the kids were given an opportunity to see animals from all over the world, including those in the North Pole and those swimming in the deepest oceans. In these lessons that kids were genuinely intrigued by these “strange” creatures, and for most part, desired an opportunity to see them in real life. The message given to them was that if these animals are not respected and protected, the chances of us seeing them will be nothing, and in turn there are those that have never seen animals such as elephants and lions, and have a similar desire to see them, therefore we must play our part in protecting those animals that are within our environment.
Among the conservation education, lessons that were taught to the kids includeddefining and explaining in detail what terms such as extinct and endangered meant to them and to the entire world. It was imperative that the kids understood what the consequences would be if most of the animals they had seen were to be endangered or even extinct. During the lessons kids were given facts about the status in populations of many of the world’s threatened animals, and challenged the kids to imagine a world without them.
Of course we could not have a camp without a number of exciting activities, and some of those that the kids enjoyed were, game drives. In fact the kids had a the amazing opportunity to see a pack of wild dogs, which was extremely appropriate considering the lessons that were being taught. Other activities included, making beads with magazine cuttings, nature walks, soccer, obstacle course race, as well as a scavenger hunt.
After three years of hosting and facilitating the Great Plains Conservation Education camps, it has become apparent that this is a program that needs to continue, and grow. Grow into other areas that are affected and in turn affect the environment that is so precious to their future. This year the Great Plains Foundation was established, with the aim to pursue more educational initiatives as well as other community based and related projects. The funds raised thought the Great Plains Foundation, will ensure that these projects continue and become sustainable thanks to Botswana’s young Conservation Ambassadors.
Thank you for your support,