Mokolodi Nature Reserve is 15 km from Gaborone – thirty square kilometres of beautiful Botswana countryside that provides a home to free living giraffe, rhino, kudu, bushbuck, water buck, zebra, warthog, leopard, crocodile, baboon and many more species as well as hyena and cheetah in spacious enclosures, and various rescued birds, primates and reptiles in sanctuary space.
Education is ‘at the core’ of Mokolodi. The land was donated into a non-profit Trust in 1994 ‘for the children of Botswana – a natural area for them to learn about nature, conservation and the environment.’ Children come, subsidised by the reserve’s commercial activities and by sponsors, like TUSK.
The purpose built Education Centre welcomes and provides a wide range of learning experiences for an impressive average of 10,000 visitors every year.
Most youngsters come with their schools to learn the practical parts of their school curriculum studies, others come on class excursions, with a club, for a day, half a day, or the lucky ones for up to a week might sleep under canvas in the bush or in dormitories at the centre.
Programmes include game drives, environmental learning challenges and activities in the bush, as well as experiencing reptiles, vultures and cheetah at close range. We were thrilled to see how much fun children have, their excitement seeing wildlife, awe at the stunning scenery and their knowledge of conservation issues.
The PACE coordinator joined the education team and a group of youngsters on a TUSK supported bush camp, and was thrilled to see how ideas from PACE complement their ongoing conservation education. The kids pictured below were learning about waste management, how plastic refuse, empty bottles and cans that are often discarded by visitors harm the wildlife, need to be disposed of carefully and can easily be recycled in creative and useful ways. Small teams each made something useful from a pile of refuse and presented their creations.
Black plastic resulted in a fashion show……
Abandoned drink containers were turned into pots for nursing trees, filled with compost from kitchen waste.
Cardboard and paper recycled to create models and new sheets of artisanal paper.
They discussed waste management issues around their homes and how they will each contribute to improving it.
PACE is proud to have Mokolodi as our regional hub and is excited about plans for out-reach to schools in 2018, starting with those who live close to the reserve where solutions to overharvesting firewood and human/wildlife conflict can bring improvements to the daily lives of local communities, well-being of wildlife and support basic education.
The Mokolodi education team is led by Dennis Ramokgau – his dynamic, hard-working team of five educators is pictured below with CEO, Laola Gilbert – photographed at the opening of a PACE workshop at Mokolodi in December.
Keep up the great work guys.