Tomorrow’s natural resources will stand a better chance of survival if today’s children are educated on how to conserve Africa’s precious wilderness areas. The goal of our conservation lessons is to instill joy, respect and understanding of the natural resources that surround them in both children and adults. The interdependency of the andBeyond model of Care of the Land, Wildlife and People means that successful conservation is dependent on the communities living close to wildlife areas.
Through our conservation lesson program over 1614 students and teachers spent time learning and engaging with conservation issues in East Africa last year. They were all able to participate in game drives into the national parks, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara and the Masai Mara; as well as the reefs around Mnemba Island. Here they had access and exposure to wildlife – terrestrial and marine, many of them for the first time. Many children have not had the opportunity to go in to the National Parks, so through this engagement, with knowledgeable andBeyond rangers they are able to gain a practical knowledge on the importance and benefits of conservation. In conjunction with conservation lessons we educate students and teachers on the importance of the protection of our forest and how to plant and protect trees. More than 60 000 trees have been planted by Ngorongoro Crater Lodge staff over the past 20 years.
As many of the communities that live close to the parks in East Africa are pastoralist, the potential for human wildlife conflict is always a reality. The fight to maintain, and further develop biodiversity in a balanced system with the community, is becoming ever challenging. Talking to &Beyonders who went on conservation lessons, these were often the first opportunity for children to get access to the parks and gain a deeper understanding of the importance of wildlife in terms of conservation and tourism. Many of these staff have said that it was these initial interactions with &Beyond guides that instilled the passion and knowledge of wildlife conservation and community development in them, and played a major part in influencing their careers. With this exposure we believe we are influencing future leaders and conservationists within the communities surrounding the parks where we work.