The Big Conservation Interview
April 2 2016

As another school term draws to a close, conservation education at Mukamusaba School in Livingstone has continued its case study theme that started in February.

Conservation activities can create a wide variety of benefits for communities, including employment.  So, on the 2nd of March we delivered a lesson which aimed at helping pupils appreciate this potential using ALERT as a case study, by bringing some ALERT and Wildlife Encounter staff members, as well as some project volunteers for pupils to interview.  The students were divided into groups and given some suggested questions to start them off. 

  • What is your role with ALERT?
  • What made you want to work with ALERT?
  • What do you think would happen to wildlife and the community without charities such as ALERT? 
  • How do you think ALERT has impacted the community?

Conservation Education

In concluding the lesson, pupils were asked to write a paragraph about how they think ALERT will influence their future by working alongside the local community.

The following week the conservation education class enjoyed a tour of ALERT’s facility in the Dambwa Forest.  The tour aimed at exposing the pupils to first-hand experience of the work that ALERT is doing in conservation.  It was a good experience for the kids as they came to understand more about the features of a lion and its adaptations which make it an apex predator.

Conservation Education

The final lesson of the module included a group discussion about the plight of the lion as a species, followed by creating campaign posters.  To start the discussion the students were reminded of the facts about lion populations, such as current estimated numbers and the scale of habitat reduction.  In four different groups pupils discussed the advantages of having lions in Africa, and why they should be conserved.  As part of the discussion, they were also asked to consider if the lion should be classified as a ‘vulnerable’ species, or whether it should be considered for change.

Conservation Education

For the second activity, each group was asked to create an ALERT campaign poster about saving the lion. This activity allowed the pupils to express their willingness to positively contribute to ensuring a secure future for the African lion and the ecosystems on which the species relies.  Each group then elected a representative who shared and explained their poster to the whole class.

Conservation Education


About ALERT’s Conservation Education Project

Our conservation education syllabus was developed by ALERT in partnership with Coventry University and David Brackstone of John Taylor High School.  Evaluation of the effectiveness of the syllabus in changing attitudes towards a more positive view of conservation has been undertaken by Coventry University as well as by Ruth Armstrong, of Edinburgh Napier University.  ALERT has also established a tripartite agreement between ALERT, Copperbelt University (Zambia) and Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) to improve conservation education provision in these two countries.

The syllabus has four main objectives:

- to increase participants’ awareness of their environment and assist them in developing sound judgement in the management of natural resources;

- to involve participants in activities to increase their understanding of environmental issues;

- to encourage participants to develop the ability to view situations from an environmental point of view, and to undertake simple investigations and interpret the results, and;

- to emphasize to participants the potential of the environment as a source of benefits and therefore something to conserve, manage and sustain.

This work combines science with local knowledge, to ensure we deliver a conservation education curriculum that positively impacts upon students’ attitudes and behaviours, and is culturally appropriate for the children and communities we reach.

About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)

Conservation Education is one aspect of the work of our ALERT Education Centres.  The AEC operations at Livingstone (Zambia), Victoria Falls and Antelope Park (Zimbabwe) are all aimed at supporting the formal education system by offering extra-curricular activities to enhance student learning, and assisting with access to education for vulnerable students.  Current programs include the provision of classes in conservation education, basic life skills, and English literacy.  In addition, we provide funding to pay the fees of vulnerable students to take part in education from pre-school to university level, and fully funded internship and facilitated research placements for university level students.  Future programmes will incorporate classes in numeracy, health & nutrition, physical education and business studies/entrepreneurship, as well as a variety of vocational training.  The AEC is operated in association with Coventry University (UK), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) and Copperbelt University (Zambia), and with the assistance of David Brackstone of John Taylor High School (UK).   The first AEC, at Antelope Park, was opened in 2012 by the then Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Mr. David Coltart.

Join us at the AEC

ALERT offers a Conservation Education internship for those keen to gain hands-on teaching experience, while contributing to the protection and preservation of Africa’s wildlife.  Interns will help in preparing and delivering lessons both in the classroom and on field trips.  The syllabus encompasses environmental conservation, ecology and biodiversity, sustainability, and wildlife ecology and management.  If you are interested in an internship at the AEC at Antelope Park click here full details.

Support the AEC

If you would like to support the activities of our AEC operations please click here.

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