Working with Coaching 4 Conservation in Botswana
We have arrived in Maun, Botswana and have begun working with Coaching For Conservation (C4C) which falls under the umbrella of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BCPT). I say “working”, because after a quick tour
of the facilities in Maun which include a biology lab, their offices, and the
municipal sports stadium we jumped in some 4×4 vehicles and headed up to HQ at
their research base. We were joined at camp with 30 other individuals who will be working with us to run a soccer and educational camp for C4C next week which will reach approximately 700 youths in the Maun region.
Being at camp is much as you would expect, except that now we are adults and the surrounding areas are visited by wild lions, elephants, impala, leopard,cheetahs, and other animals. You can, quite literally, be eaten alive if you stray from the camp, especially after dark. Each night we hear the calls of hyenas and lions in close proximity
while elephants tramp through the camp and eat the acacia trees surrounding our
tents and cabins.
Our daily schedule is a combination of information sessions
and game-drives so that we can see first-hand the information we are learning
during the sessions. The purpose of all
this is to have a well-informed staff who appreciates and has a strong desire
to preserve/conserve the environment and its habitants. Those of us from Coaches Across Continents,
the local soccer coaches, the educators who are serving as conservation coaches during the camp, and the support staff include professional guides are all participating in the educational camp week. Already we have had lectures on wild dogs, hyenas, lions, and cheetahs. On our game drives we have seen a leopard eating a baby zebra, a cheetah mother and her cub, a pair of male lions, as well as many elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, impala, zebras, kudu, various birds, and Gibbo’s favorite, the honey badger.
With the end of each educational session we play an informal pick-up game on the savannah which is watched with a combination we are sure of alarm and amusement by the wild herd animals. Hopefully they won’t ever want to get too involved.
Next week we will begin transferring our
knowledge and love of environmental conservationism by hosting a camp for 22 local schools. They will learn about six animals or groups of animals (lions, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, and herd animals) over the course of twelve stations which include soccer-based lessons to help engage and reinforce the messages. We expect that it will be a great week that will help to change attitudes and behaviors about conservationism in Maun and Botswana.