Conservation Education

I simply cannot believe that it’s almost August, and therefore almost time to head back to the US! I only have two weeks left in the forest, which just seems impossible. From here on out, things are going to be SO busy – in fact, they already are!

Last week, all of us went to Karijubu Secondary School to talk to the kids (up to age 15) about conservation. It was so so fun! Each of us discussed a different topic – Donald talked to them about misconceptions about baboons, and Maureen talked about chimpanzees as a species. As part of her talk, Maureen demonstrated chimpanzee food grunts and a chimpanzee laugh, which the kids loved! Susan discussed tool use in chimpanzees and tool variation among different chimp populations. The head field assistant, Joseph, also talked to them about uses and misuses of forest resources, such as improper firewood collection or activities leading to river pollution. Everyone’s presentations were relaxed, fun, and informative!

I talked to the kids about Kasokwa Forest itself, telling them about how big the forest is, what animals live it in, etc. For your benefit, Kasokwa is about 76 hectares, and is home to a variety of animals such as baboons, chimpanzees, red-tail monkeys, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, river otters, red and blue duiker, monitor lizards, civets, tree hyraxes, mongoose, tree squirrels, porcupines, as well as many birds, insects, and arachnids!

I led the pupils through what our day in the forest like, telling them our schedule and showing them my field pack of rain gear, lunch bag, hat, notebook, etc. I also let them all try out my binoculars, which they enjoyed; at the end, all of us gave the students pencils with “Kasokwa Forest Project” printed on them, along with a lollipop and a pamphlet about the forest.

Presenting to the school about conservation was so much fun and such a valuable experience during my time in Uganda. Jane Goodall, the world’s best-known primatologist, has devoted her career to enhancing childhood education about the environment through her organization called Roots & Shoots. After working with Karijubu Secondary School’s kids to spread our love of the forest, I could see why Dr. Goodall recognized the value of education in nature preservation. Below is a photo of us with the students of the school – enjoy!