Last November Class 8 students at the Kileva School were taken on a school trip to Wildlife Works by the Elephants & Bees Team. A report of the trip, which was sponsored by Disney Conservation Fund, is given below
Posted on November 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm
Report written by International Intern, Ben Kelly
The 8th grade students at Kileva Primary School have had their hands full towards the end of the year with their KCPE exams, a stressful time for Kenyan primary school students across the country – so what better way to reward our hard-working students than with a school excursion to Wildlife Works, our local wildlife sanctuary.
The day began with students, teachers and the Elephants and Bees (E&B) team gathering at Kileva Primary School around 8:30am for a promising day of fun ahead. Upon arrival, students were divided into four teams: Team Tembo (Swahili for elephant), The Crazy Kicheches (Swahili for honey badger), The Chui (Swahili for leopard) Champs, and finally, The Buzzing Bees. The students were briefed with the schedule for the day and were informed that there would be a series of games throughout the day where each team could earn points, resulting in one team emerging as the champions. The competitive nature of school children was palpable in the air.
To start the day off on a more harmonious front, we began by playing some local games just for fun. This included “Bamboo Forest”, which proved to be a crowd favourite, with its catchy tune everyone couldn’t help but sing along to. This was followed by the first scoring game of the day – you could’ve cut the tension with a knife. “Who’s that Animal” kicked things off, where the E&B team listed facts about a certain animal that the students then had to guess. The game was a close, with the Buzzing Bees stealing victory on the very final question. After the excitement dissipated, the students were given the second game of the day, “Safari Bingo”. This game entailed sighting animals and then ticking them off a comprehensive list, the more animal sightings the better your chance of winning. On that note, it was time to catch our minibuses and make our way to Wildlife Works.
Protus, our tour guide, welcomed us with open arms and a dazzling smile, catching the student’s attention and imagination from the get go. He lead us to the hall where he began a speech highlighting significant environmental issues in today’s world, including climate change, deforestation, poaching, and charcoal burning. Protus’ speech engaged the students thoroughly as there was a constant flurry of questioning hands shooting up into the air and the sound of pencils scratching on paper by the rampant note takers of the group.
Protus then lead us to our first stop of the day, the sewing factory, where Wildlife Works makes its clothing. Protus passionately described how they use only organic cotton because of its environmental benefits – a significant point to make to our students as most of their parents are farmers. The clothing manufacture also appealed to the more creative students, with Protus showing us the printing hall where we were shown how designs are printed. The next stop was another of Wildlife Works environmentally sustainable production halls, the soap factory. This was particularly enjoyed by the students, who found themselves emerged in a wacky science lesson where they experimented with many different fragrance combinations. There was widespread fascination amongst the group as Protus demonstrated the recycling techniques employed in the factory, using everything from plastic soda bottles to beer caps in the products – showing the students how creative recycling can be.
Our final stop before lunch was a visit to the permaculture garden. We stepped into what felt like a lush tropical jungle filled with an assortment of fruits and veggies, ranging from the humble garden pea to the more succulent passionfruit. Wildlife Works have produced such a bountiful permaculture farm through implementing many creative farming techniques, such as vertical farming to optimise space and planting pest resistant crops such as Marigolds. Visiting the permaculture garden was an eye opener for students and the E&B team as it gave us ideas about how we could improve our own permaculture garden at Kileva Primary.
After a jam-packed morning of activities, it was finally time for lunch at Kivuli Camp. We were treated to a spread of delicious food, with many students, and a few cheeky teachers and E&B team members (myself included), enjoying seconds. After clearing all the plates, Ken, a member of the E&B team, hosted a quiz challenging the student teams. The quiz was based on what students had learnt throughout the morning, so whichever team had been paying the most attention would take it. The Chui Champs came out on top for this one, nudging them into tied first place with The Buzzing Bees.
Despite everyone playing ball on the day, there was one member of the team who wasn’t, the weather. It had been raining heavily for most of the day which had severely affected how much wildlife was around and resulted in the roads being transformed into what looked like rivers of chocolate mousse. However, a little bit of rain wasn’t going to stop us! So, we piled into the vehicles and embarked on the world’s shortest safari, only managing to go about 1km before one of the vehicles had issues. Not letting the situation get to us, we decided to remain positive, seizing the opportunity to get a fantastic group photo while waiting for our rescuers.
Once our knights in shining armour had arrived, or knights in a white Landcruiser in this case, it was getting late, so we had to make our way back to the offices. However, the fun wasn’t quite over yet, as we had one more game to play, the childhood classic, charades. The game elicited a lot of laughter amongst the group, particularly when a Chui Champs team member unleashed an earth shattering elephant trumpet that would make even the largest male tusker high tail it in the opposite direction! Needless to say, the Chui champs took this one home too.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Before home time though, the Safari Bingo scores had to be tallied and a team had to be crowned champions. With much anticipation and a drum roll from the students, it was announced that the Chui Champs were the winners! However, everyone was a winner thanks to Ivory Ella, who had supplied us with vibrant t-shirts as gifts for our students. It was now well and truly time to go, we all thanked Wildlife Works for having us and left feeling utterly delighted with such a fantastic day.
Special thanks to The Walt Disney Company for funding such a memorable day.
It’s now 6 years since Kileva started to work with Dr Lucy King’s Elephants and Bees Project, and I’m delighted to say that the team have recently expanded their work to include holding Environmental Education lessons with year 8 students at the school to team them about wildlife and how to conserve and protect it. I really hope this kind of education will expand over the coming months and become an important part of the teaching curriculum.
Meanwhile, Dr King’s team recently celebrated “World Wildlife Day 2015” with the year 8 Kileva Eastfield pupils, and organized a safari trip to the Rukinga Sanctuary, helped by funding from Wildlife Works and Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. A full report (reprinted from the Elephant & Bees blog site) of the day is given below.
School field trip for World Wildlife Day
By Elephants and Bees International intern, Christin Winter
“What is the importance of wildlife?“ – “Income”, “food” and “Tourism”. These were the answers I got from the pupils of class 8 at the Kileva Eastfield Primary School in Sagalla. Not wrong at all, but is that everything? Besides all the benefits us humans can get so obviously and directly from our wild neighbors, there are hundreds of other far more important reasons why we need to preserve wildlife. All coming down to the fact, that if we want to live a healthy life and keep having a healthy place for our children, we need to take care of our environment now.
How can you find a way to let the Kenyan youth understand the importance to preserve their wild if they do not have any connection to it? If the only image of an elephant is a huge scary shadow coming at night, raiding your family’s crops? How can you show them the beauty of their home and the need to remember their own tradition?
Elephants and Bees Project started to work with the school in 2009 but only recently started to conduct constructive Environmental Education lessons. We are now working on a new way for the children to learn about wildlife through weekly Wednesday afternoon lessons that are run by interns and students on the project. We are convinced, once the children have more knowledge about the wonders of nature, they will be more interested to protect it. After a series of our successful Wednesday afternoon lessons with class 8, talking about conservation and educating about wildlife, we decided to celebrate “World Wildlife Day 2015” with the pupils and organized a safari trip to the Rukinga Sanctuary, cooperating with Wildlife Works.
This is the 1st trip The Elephants and Bees Project has done with the school and everyone was very excited, especially the children. Wildlife Works donated the use of the truck to fit 16 pupils, 2 teachers and 6 staff and interns from both STE and Wildlife Works education team. The truck’s fuel, transport to Rukinga in a bus, food, water and a mid-day snack was funded by our friends from the Disney Worldwide Conservation fund.
Off we go!
Wednesday morning, 9am off we go, the truck packed with water, juice, snacks and lunch, and 25 excited people, discovering Rukinga and the work that is done in that area. Shortly after we started we encountered Maasai Giraffes, Buffalos, Zebras and finally Elephants. A big aggregation of up to 40 elephant bulls approaching a waterhole. The truck was down wind to them, so they were aware of us, smelling the air and approached very, very carefully. The children were quiet and silently watched the bulls of all sizes and shapes slowly reaching the water. Ears spread wide, stopping after every 2nd step, listening, smelling.
The children were given a couple of activity papers, on which they could tick of all the different sounds and behavior displays they witnessed by the elephants. This was a perfect sighting for them to study elephant behavior first hand. They watched them behaving around the water very careful, starting to trust the car, greeting each other, drinking and splashing water, flapping the ears etc.
After about 30 minutes we decided to leave them alone and moved on. We discussed the witnessed elephant behavior and identification of elephant gender directly afterwards with the pupils. Everybody seemed happy and very curious about the animals. As we moved on, the children encountered different animal species, like Grant’s gazelle, Dik dik, Lesser Kudu and discussed the visible effects cattle bomas had on the environment. A snack break was enjoyed at noon and afterwards everyone rested in the shade we went on a little “footprint – treasure hunt“. I circled tracks of different animals, like lion, striped hyena, jackal, giraffe, zebra and of course elephant. It turned out that everyone was having a great time and had lots of fun trying to identify the tracks with help of the footprint-activity-paper I had prepared for the trip. Some children were already very talented elephant-trackers. We measured tracks, discussed the difference between ruminants, zebra and elephant droppings and were all motivated to find some more signs of the wild. We then got back on the truck to continued the safari.
Lunch was served at the Tsavo Research Camp. Everyone was very hungry and after we had a bit of a relaxing time, we got to see the collection of skulls, reptiles, insects and arthropods the camp had to offer. The ranger got news, that there were lions not far from where we had been, so we quickly packed our stuff and jumped back on the truck, looking for the lions. As we approached the area they have seen them just before, everyone went silent and had a good look around. Unfortunately none could spot them. Then the truck’s battery went flat! Everybody off the back – the truck needed to be pushed so the driver could jump-start it! Interesting, that these car break downs always seem to happen when lions are supposed to be around…… Everybody pushed hard and after a couple of tries we managed to get the truck rolling and the driver was able to start it. It turned out to be quite a good “bonding“ experience for everyone and the children were excited about the little adventure they found themselves in.
A successful day
The safari was getting to an end, as it was almost 5pm. We made our way back to the office and discussed the highlights of the trip. Everybody had an amazing time, learnt a lot about their environment and had fun ticking off the species and footprint lists they got given. I hope the trip inspired some of the pupils of the Kileva Eastfield Primary School to try their best to preserve their beautiful environment. Who knows, maybe one or more of them may be our future conservationists, field guides or rangers, sharing their knowledge of wildlife with other people. The trip was a success and we are encouraged to continue our work on conservation education with the school!
Thank you to Wildlife Works and Disney’s Animal Kingdom for funding this wonderful Save the Elephants’ – Elephants and Bees Project field trip to celebrate World Wildlife Day!