School students have been doing amazing work monitoring survey cameras for the foundation. They go out monthly into the field with activities learning about biodiversity and its conservation. A major focus of the project is that students learn about the full cycle of doing conservation. As well as learning the facts through research and spending time outdoors they need to be able to communicate what it is they are doing and why. They create information boards at school, have written articles for the Wessa Enviro Kids Magazine and have been actively teaching other students at schools. Fund raising is the third element, students raise money to pay for the film and batteries giving them an opportunity to experience the responsibility of making their project sustainable. Many schools have done amazing work and taken it a step further to help in the conservation of leopards. Woodridge Primary, outside Port Elizabeth, the Grade 7 Eco club sponsored their teachers “Racing for Leopards” shirt at the TransBaviaans Race, and Glenwood is planning a big gala event dedicated to the leopards.
This project is about getting students “out there”, letting them do real work that helps the bigger picture and teaching them real skills. These projects have given eco-activities some status at these schools and the “cool factor” that instill desirability at the schools.
Glenwood Student Leopard Project
Glenwood started working with Landmark Foundation at the end of 2009. The students and teacher body has been passionate about helping leopards since the start. These students got the first picture of wilderness female’s cub on one of the cameras they were monitoring. Brian, head of the eco-club, spent his job shadow with us and is looking forward to going to study Nature Conservation to carry on with essential environmental work. This year Glenwood is organizing an annual fund raiser, a gala event for the leopards and they have made leopards their official environmental commitment on their epic 540km Karoo Challenge.
Woodridge Student Leopard Project 2010
The Woodridge team have shown commitment and innovation. They developed a notice board first, and the primary school debating team chose predator issues as the topic for their big debate where students and parents go way for a night out to Kariega Game Reserve. We have been camera-trap monitoring in the van Staden’s River Valley since March 2010 getting some wonderful pictures of the local wildlife and exposing the children to excellent bush experiences. The high school have also started a survey site, and we look forward to finding the elusive leopards reported in this important corridor to the coast.