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!