Summer Updates 1 – Conservation Education

UK, US, Tooro Kingdom and Ugandan  flags fly together at Kasiisi

June, July and August at Kasiisi Project schools saw the kind of  international collaboration we have come to expect during the summer long vacation. Ugandans, Americans and British volunteers and employees worked together to strengthen old programs and initiate new ones. It was an exciting time particularly for our Conservation Education programs and Wildlife Clubs.

WLC leaders with Amy Hanna and Rwabuhinga Francis (1st right)
Amy Hanna addresses WLC meeting

In June we hired Kasiisi Project scholar  Rwabuhinga Francis, as our new trainee Conservation Education Director. Francis who was supported through secondary school and Makerere University by The Field School in Weston, MA and who has a degree in

Rweteera school tree nursery bed
Disney funded tree puzzle
Michelle Sirois and Kyanyawara student

environmental sciences is working with US  volunteer Amy Hanna, recently of Lincoln Park Zoo, to improve our conservation education programmes. Their primary goal for 2011 has been to develop and expand the school’s Wildlife Clubs. The Kasiisi Project prefers to work within already existing programs and as The Wildlife Clubs of Uganda is a national organisation  represented in every Ugandan school it is a good starting  place for many of our environmental initiatives. However the clubs in our  schools range from very active to totally moribund. In a meeting attended by over 40 head teachers, WLC leaders and School Management Committee chairs from 14 Kasiisi Project schools Francis and Amy offered a program of  new ideas, fun activities and hands on assistance to help WLCs thrive. In consultation with the schools it was decided that establishment of school gardens growing only indigenous trees and medicinal plants would be the first program of this new initiative. A trip to Tooro Botanical Gardens in Fort Portal for WLC leaders gave everyone good ideas what would work for their particular schools and practical alternatives to the fast growing but ultimately environmentally destructive eucalyptus.

Everyone can use some help with spelling.

Harvard student Michelle Sirois used poetry and legends to assess children’s attitudes to the environment  and then had groups of students from Kasiisi and Kyanyawara write stories about animals and then illustrate and publish bilingual Rutooro/English books of their own.

Kasiisi students display completed books

Students from Bates College in Maine, taking a class in primate conservation, designed a coloring book describing  how similar chimpanzees are to humans.

Kigarama kids at water source
Searching for bugs
Amy Hanna demonstrates how to measure water color

The Cleveland Zoo funded water quality project has got off to an great start under the guiding hand of volunteer Matt Barth. 25 children from each of 5 schools learned how to measure water quality in the first in a series of 4 seasonal water collections and analysis. The fun had by everyone demonstrated that mud, water and bugs are an  irresistible combination to kids everywhere.

Kiko students measure turbidity
Campers use hands and arms to paint trees

As an end of term treat 20 students and teachers from 5 Wildlife clubs joined 20 students from Hoima district at a World Wildlife Fund funded 3 day Wildlife Club Camp .   The camp was run by an old Kasiisi Project friend and collaborator Helena Nambogwa ably assisted by visitors to Kibale National Park. Children took forest walks, played games, painted “trees” (paint hands green and fore-arm brown, press onto paper and hey-presto), watched movies and guided by Kibale Fuelwood Project personnel made “eco-charcoal” bricks from peanut shells, manure and sawdust. The Kasiisi Library was put to good use as campers researched the animals and plants they had seen.

Doing research in Kasiisi Library
Campers make “eco-charcoal” bricks
Forest Walks
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