The main aim of Conservation Education is to provide children with knowledge, information and incentives to conserve wildlife and natural habitat, and encourage debate and solutions on environmentally sustainable ways of living.
The Livingstone, Zambia branch of our Conservation Education classes has been in operation since 2012, and takes place every Wednesday afternoon in Mukamusaba Basic School. This week was the second class on the topic of Forests. The high levels of deforestation in Zambia, and particularly in the local Dambwa Forest, make this an important part of our conservation education syllabus. 167 hectares of forest have been lost in Zambia every year since 2005. That’s equivalent to 350 football pitches. Therefore, a main outcome of teaching this topic is to encourage children to make informed decisions about how they use the Forest now and in the future.
Our staff, volunteers and interns delivered a lesson on how the people of Livingstone interact with the forest. The main issues covered were deforestation, afforestation and reforestation.
We always begin a lesson with a recap of what was taught the previous week. A ‘quiz’ on what was covered brings much excitement to the classroom as well as refreshing the material. The children were then asked to describe through drawing, the manner they had used the forest the week before. They then adjusted their drawings to show how their impact on the forest could be minimized.
67% of Zambia is covered in forest. Our class represented this by drawing a 10 square x10 square table, and colouring in 62 of those squares. Of these 62 squares, the amount of forest used for commercial purposes was identified by marking 24 of those squares (24%), and 22 squares were also marked to illustrate protected areas (22%). The class debated threats to the Forest and the reasons why entire areas may be cleared in areas to make way for farms, mines and housing. In doing so, new terms such as reforestation and afforestation were introduced and the advantages and disadvantages of both were explored. As well as learning about the Forest and threats to it, this class also focuses on Reflection skills, encouraging children to think by about their own on activities and the impact these might have on their environment and how they manage it.
You could be involved in conservation education at Mukamusaba Primary School by joining ALERT as aTeaching in Africa intern.