It’s the first day of our workshops with Conservation Teachers from around the National Park, and the first challenge of the day is just getting there! The workshop classroom is only 2km away but as it’s wet season the road is turned into a muddy trench and Paul’s driving skills are being put to the test! We set up the workshop classroom and help put mosquito nets over the teachers’ beds – malarial mosquitos are as dangerous as passing elephants around here. The 16 Conservation Teachers arrive in a big truck from their local villages – they’ve been driving for hours but are still smiling and laughing at our attempts at speaking Bemba!
Paul getting the classroom ready for workshop number one...
Our workshops cover the learning theory and teaching skills that are used in the new conservation curriculum, and it is quickly very clear that the Zambian teachers are well trained and enthusiastic at their work. Most of them have enjoyed teaching a few lessons of the new curriculum already so we do roleplays, discussions and practical work to enhance their teaching and help make their lessons more effective. After a few hours inside a hot humid classroom, we move the activities outside under the shade of a marula tree – much better!
Conservation Teachers discussing a lesson
Much better outside
Most of the Conservation Teachers have never been inside the Park before, and are very excited to see wild animals so close by! An elephant joined us during lunch, but I’m not sharing my food – Zambian nshima (a kind of thick corn porridge) is delicious…
Conservation Teachers doing their best black rhino impressions
Ed, who helps to manage the park rangers, comes and shows us a real hunter’s gun, and tells stories about stolen rhino horns. The teachers are fascinated and can’t wait to tell their students about what they’ve seen. We end the day with a football match against the Park staff – tough rangers and vehicle repair men against our teachers! Paul & I cowardly stick to the sidelines with the cheerleading squad, who teach us the Zambian football song “Ba Zambia, nalelo bawina chipolopolo” (“Zambians run as fast as bullets!”) We quickly change it to “Ba Teacher…” to cheer on our team!
Football: this is serious business...
The last morning finishes with the presentation of certificates and gifts to the schools (a new dictionary each), before it’s time for our new friends to head home. Another 13 teachers will arrive on Monday for our second workshop, but for now we have a free day, and that can only mean one thing – try to find some rhinos!
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Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.
Follow the latest news on ZSL’s Arts & Culture projects at ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos, and ZSL’s conservation work through the lense of the Arts.
Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.
Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs
Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.
Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.
One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.
From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.
Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica
Amur leopard conservation blog
Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!
Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.
The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.
Follow ZSL’s amphibian experts in their quest to find out why 41% of the world’s amphibians are threatened and what can be done to stop more species becoming extinct.
Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.