This blog features a write up by Sarah Davies, a Base Camp Manager at Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) which is just outside the Lower Zambezi National Park. Sarah shares gems from a recent visit from Luangwa District children who came to CLZ on an environmental education trip. CLZ works closely with the local community in the surrounding area, including 35 target Basic Schools and the District Education Board Secretary in order to promote, foster and maintain interest in the protection of wildlife.
“After over twelve hours in the CLZ 4x4 truck, (all the way from Luangwa Boma in the Rufunsa Game Management Area to CLZ Base Camp on the eastern boundary of Lower Zambezi National Park), the first gaggle of school children to visit the CLZ education centre this year arrived noisily and ready for a shower!
This visit included 24 pupils and four teachers who would spend three nights at the CLZ education centre learning about conservation.
The CLZ education program aims to inspire and educate children aged 14 to 16 in the conservation of their natural resources. It is astounding to learn that the majority of these children, although living so close, have never been able to experience the beauty of the Lower Zambezi National Park itself. Often they have only encountered elephants and hippos when they are threatening their crops or even their lives. At CLZ children learn about the wealth of biodiversity in the Lower Zambezi area and how important it is to all of our lives.
The current threats to the environment such as deforestation and poaching are discussed and innovative solutions such as chilli fencing suggested. Above all, the most effective and enjoyable parts of the trip are the game drives and boat cruises during which children experience the breath-taking scenery and environment often only reserved for international tourists.
After three exciting days of learning and exploring the children have a much better understanding and appreciation of the value of Zambia’s wildlife. In the Evaluation Form, Paul Nyasulu of Mankhokwe Basic School said: “In my opinion, it is my view of wild animals that has changed. I used to think that animals are killers, destroyers and bad but I know now that with proper handling animals are good things to live with.”
This year the CLZ program incorporates new lessons about understanding elephant behaviour and also a careers talk from local safari guides. This has been a great success so far.”
By Sarah Davies, Base Camp Manager at Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ). CLZ would like to thank Lackson Tembo and Lawrence Mazele from Royal Zambezi Lodge for making this trip a success and the Civil Society Environment Fund, which is an initiative of the Royal Danish Embassy and the Embassy of Finland in Zambia, for funding the majority of the CLZ Environmental Education programs since 2011.