Conservation education is one of the main core activities of the Hirola Conservation Programme. This involves an outreach program to schools and visits to communities with an aim of involving them in wildlife conservation. This month, we visited Kotile primary school (one of the schools adjacent to Ishaqbini conservancy), with the aim of interacting and educating the young environmentalists. There was a buzz of excitement as our team entered the school with kids running around with looks of anticipation in their faces. As we met the headteacher, he acknowledged our presence with a smile and Kenyan prison handshakes. He expressed gratitude in regards to our visit and said that our recent visits had really inspired the pupils to take up conservation. He urged us to increase our visits, not only to the school, but also to the nearby community as he has received requests by the parents and other members of the community asking how they can also take part in conservation.
We had a very interactive session with the kids as they participated in identifying large mammals from the screen using wildlife and conservation videos that we had selected. As part of the education tour, we also showed education clips touching on environmental issues e.g. water resources, waste management and green energy. At the end of the session, we also had interviews with some of the pupils who expressed their gratitude for our visit. We also had a chance to meet with the school’s environmental club members who asked us to help them identify activities they can take up to conserve the environment. Already, they were doing clean-ups twice a week in the school compound and watering trees and flower beds. The pupils requested for more visits to their school inorder to learn more about conservation and also provide them with a chance to visit the Ishaqbini conservancy and take part in some of the conservation activities.
At the end of the day the head teacher expressed his desire for the children to visit the conservancy to see the ongoing conservation efforts. He also proudly stated that the school has started celebrating Hirola day every year by doing clean-ups at the market places and planting trees. He could also not hide his joy on seeing Aden our field assistant who had accompanied us during the school tour. “This is a great motivation to the pupils as it shows that apart from conserving our wildlife species, conservation can also help bring food to the table of the residents here” he added with an ear to ear smile