Environmental Education Programme (EEP) Teacher Training in Ndubulula

From January 30th – February 1st, BCP Trust facilitated a 3-day Teacher Training Course for the Environmental Education Programme (EEP). The BCP Trust EEP is an adapted curriculum, based on the successful “Lolesha Luangwa” Conservation Education Programme that was developed and piloted by Frankfurt Zoological Society’s North Luangwa Conservation Project (NLCP).

The EEP supported by BCP Trust is a 21-lesson interactive environmental education programme, designed to raise awareness and generate interest in youths about environmental protection, with a particular emphasis on deforestation, climate change and mitigation activities. The programme is designed to encourage collaboration between BCP and local schools, with the aim of involving local students in community sensitization and community project activities, and to train and empower youths as “environmental ambassadors” in their local communities.

The 3-day Teacher Training course was designed to build capacity among local teachers to deliver lessons from the EEP, and to facilitate collaboration and discussion among local partner organizations with similar aims and interests. The course was taught by two representatives from NLCP, including NLCP’s Education Officer. Five teachers from two local schools participated in the course, along with the Environmental Education Project Manager (EEPM) from Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), and two Community Engagement Officers from BCP Trust.

The EEP is anticipated to be launched in local schools this week—stay tuned for more information and updates to be posted on our blog!

BCP Trust is very grateful to Frankfurt Zoological Society’s North Luangwa Conservation Project (NLCP) for helping to facilitate and teach this EEP Teacher Training Course, and for sharing their wonderful conservation curriculum materials with us! We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at NLCP and CLZ to develop and support environmental education in the Lower Zambezi ecosystem!

We are additionally thankful to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for generous support in the form of a VIGOR grant, which has made this training and the launch of the EEP possible. (See more about BCP’s VIGOR grant from USAID here: http://biocarbonpartners.com/bcp-trust-receives-vigor-grant-from-usaid)

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We are very grateful to the NLCP Trainers, Sylvester and Michael, who facilitated, led and taught the EEP Teacher Training Course with us!

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Local teachers participating in the EEP Teacher Training course, which was designed to facilitate discussion and encourage interactive learning to support environmental education.

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5 teachers, 1 representative from CLZ, 2 representatives from NLCP and 2 representatives from BCP Trust participated in the training.

BCP Biodiversity Monitoring Training

Blog Post by Leon-Jacques Theron, BCP Carbon Accounting Manager

As part of an ongoing process of capacity building and improved management, the Rufunsa scouts and forest inventory team were trained to digitally capture biodiversity data using smart phones. The importance of monitoring certain key species on Rufunsa cannot be overemphasized. By tracking the distribution of species and gaining some understanding of their abundance, the efficiency of our management efforts can be judged. Such data will also serve to guide future management activities such as areas that require more intense patrols.

Seven of the scouts, the three forest inventory team members and one of the conservation center staff members gathered at the conservation center over the last weekend in January for the training which was presented by myself  (Leon Theron is BCP’s Carbon Accounting Manager). We used open source, freely available Android software to develop the survey. We designed a framework and stepwise process for the data collection system based on past experience of biodiversity monitoring and important species that need to be monitored on Rufunsa. Another BCP team member, Wesley Roberts, then coded the survey and loaded it to a cloud server where it was then downloaded onto the Android devices at the conservancy using satellite internet– This is a great example of 21st century conservation in action!

The system is easy to use and makes use of plenty of pictures and guidelines for the user, as can be seen from the screenshot below:Biodiv1

A similar system has been implemented and used by BCP for about a year now to capture biomass data. The forest inventory team were thus well versed in the system and of great help in showing their colleagues the ropes. Fortunately all the trainees owned cell phones, so it was not all new to them, they just had to get used to the touch screen of the Android device. We spent a considerable amount of time learning how to switch the devices on and off, navigating through menus, what to do if you accidentally activated the wrong app or mode and taking clear photos.

We also reviewed the species that are of importance to monitor and also to include carcasses found, dung, tracks and so on. The scouts were also shown how the previous data they have collected using GPS has been used to produce management maps and reports so that they understand what happens with their hard work.

We then practiced in the field and practiced some more! At the end of the second day everyone was proficient in capturing basic data, and each trainee was given an individual test, which was scored. Fortunately all the trainees passed!

The training and data capture system were reviewed and assessed by the trainees. We discussed the option of translating the menus from English into a local language, but most people felt that the survey was simple enough to understand in English, and some people did not write well in all the local languages, anyway, so it was decided to keep the survey in English. We will further explore how to expand the system in order to capture poaching incidents and record vital data of poacher arrests.

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Elvin Muchimba (Forest Inventory Team) and Alimon Daka (Scout) pretending to capture a wild dog sighting!

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Patrick Mukonka (Scout) learns how to switch the device GPS on and off to save the battery.