FORUM FOCUS 1603 - page 4

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March 2016 IssueNo. 6
Educationists in Laikipia and
Northern Kenya) has for a
significant period of time invested
in experiential learning. This
special kind of learning has enabled
young people, predominantly from
Laikipia County, to enjoy first-
hand experiences of Conservation
Education; and this is what we now
In an effort to transition
Conservation Education into a
more sustainable land-use activity,
Wild Class allows kids from
various economic backgrounds,
both locally and from all over
Kenya, to participate in hands-
on, experiential learning. More
than ten conservancies in Laikipia
and northern Kenya have come
together to developWildClass. The
conservancies all offer their own
unique experiences, from learning
origami in the wild to embracing
Conservation Education through
Art and Art Forms; or being able
to learn about endangered species
whilst getting a chance to actually
touch them. Through structured
experiencesandactivities targetedat
variousagegroups, theConservation
youngsters to fully comprehend in a
tangible way how natural resources
and ecosystems affect each other
as well as how these resources can
be used wisely. The experiential
learning process encourages critical
thinking and challenges the learners
to develop their own theories about
conserving thenatural resources that
surround them, andwhicharepart of
their heritage asKenyans.
Back to our narrative: As you
head back to school you feel like
an environmental guru. I mean,
you fed a black rhino, got to see
wild animals you have only seen
on Animal Planet, walked down a
river bed, and then you saw llamas
(not endemic to Kenya, obviously)
and exotic birds without leaving
the country! At this point you are
back at school and the Laikipia
Education officer gives you a recap
of the day and tells you that the next
adventurewill be travelling to learn
about Wetlands and Biodiversity.
Leonardo DiCaprio has nothing on
you at this point, because now you
are amember of theWildClass!
By AliceMigwi
icture this: It is a Thursday
before exams and you’re
learning about factors influencing
the distribution of wildlife in East
Africa. Your teacher is throwing
around phrases like ‘spatial
dynamics of landscapes’ and
‘grazing behaviours’. The wildest
animal you have ever seen is your
neighbour’s cat that makes strange
window. The wildest landscape you
have ever seen is your uncle’s back
yard.Your classmatesareall looking
confused because they too have
never seen wildlife or landscapes
and so you raise your voice with
confidence and shout, “Yes! Wild
landscapes exist in Nairobi!” Your
teacher laughs kindly and says, “No,
let’s go out on a field trip and will
I show you what am really talking
On leaving the classroom, you
are guided to a bus with the words
LaikipiaWildlife Forumwritten on
the side. In two hours’ time you are
at aconservancygate, andyoubegin
to realize what a different kind of
experience this is going to be. The
guide at the gate welcomes you to
the conservancy and explains what
is in store for you. Before you know
it, youare seeingzebra, elephant and
rhino, all in their natural habitats.
Thingswhich previously came alive
to you in pictures or in textbooks
now are right in front of your
eyes, living and breathing. You are
overwhelmed and you feel a little
nervous, but it is also really cool.
Will these animals attack us? You
wonder inwardly, but the feeling
of excitement quickly takes over as
you and your classmates are shown
how to hand-feed a black rhino.
This is what is called ‘experiential
learning’. Learning by seeing,
touching and experiencing.
supported by EKN and USAID
(in partnership with Conservation
Twostudents talkabout countinggiraffesatMpalaRaanch, Laikipia
Youngboy takesnotesaboutwildlife inLWFbus.
“In the end, wewill
conserve onlywhat we
love;wewill love only
what weunderstand and
wewill understand only
what we are taught.”
TeacherRachel fromKiberaGirlsSchool photographs
Familyof elephant drinkingat damonMpalaRanch.
Citizenscientists enjoydayof learningon theLWFbus
1,2,3 5,6,7,8
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