THE GREAT PLAINS
CONSERVATION ADVENTURE CHALLENGE
This past week included World Water Day. That got me thinking about what these days are for and whether they count at all. They only matter if we do focus on Water or other subjects and then do something about it.
I’m reminded of times when my brother Keith and I camped on the banks of the Olifants River for weeks as kids, drinking from the river, celebrating a life filled with excitement, joy, and the promise of creative engagement with nature. It’s why we have been relooking at a program inside Great Plains. It’s called our Great Plains Young Explorers experience.
It all starts with assembling a team of experts to really look at what we can offer children of all ages who visit our camps.
The trend now is to travel with extended families, to travel less often but to make it really count. So along with reducing the allowed age of children in our camps, we are ramping up our younger guests’ activities.
Young Explorers is not just about activities but about sparking that same interest that changed my life when I was younger. It presents the canvas and tools that I hope children will take away with them into life while with us. Our guides have already started specialized training. Young Explorers will be given backpacks with books and tasks, a well-planned range of fun but educational activities that develop creative skills and bushcraft training.
One of my personal delights over the years has been tracking. I’ve spent days, months following footprints across the sands of time, imagining the leopard swishing through the grass, scratching on a tree, lying down and breaking a twig. This whole hidden world gets revealed when you are taught the signs, and my goodness, what a world it is! That is what I want to share with children of all ages, from 6 to 90!
In parallel, in our Conservation Camps, we teach community children all this already. One of the things we have found so exciting via our association with the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative was the Sister School program where we teamed schools in Botswana with some in the USA, where children in Seronga could get online with a class in Brooklyn, for example.
We will be extending that once schools reopen across the globe.
Because a part of our program at Great Plains is about creativity, I want to share the below of what I wake to most days while editing (when not in the bush). It’s a massive painting done by my brother, a 5-meter masterpiece and one that reminds me of the past (with him) and the present (these places in the wild) and the future. It’s that future that our Young Explorers will help us with if we give them the tools.
As a preview, test yourselves with some of the small things your Young Explorers will be doing.
This conservation adventure challenge is aimed at all ages to tune into the playful side of exploring.
Have you got what it takes to be a Safari Guide?
Take on the challenge below to be your own safari guide as you explore your local area.