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CCF founder Dr. Laurie Marker with students and sedated cheetah (Photo: CCF)

CCF founder Dr. Laurie Marker with students and sedated cheetah (Photo: CCF)

This month, some of the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s education staff returned from attending and presenting at the 32nd Annual Environmental Educator’s Association of Southern Africa (EEASA) conference in Windhoek.

Namibia was very proud to host environmental educators from all over southern Africa to share stories, ideas and research, and its Ministry of Education sponsored and paid for five formal education teachers from each region of Namibia to attend the conference.

With this sponsorship in mind, CCF was thrilled to nominate our good friend, Ms. Lizette Masule from Okakarara Secondary School to attend the conference with our staff. Ms. Masule attended our Naturalist Training Camp with ten of her students earlier this year and runs the Okakarara Secondary School Environmental Club within the Greater Waterberg Landscape.

At the conference, CCF’s Stephanie Bradley and Ignatius Davids presented a paper on CCF’s new Naturalist Training Camp and our involvement with the Okakarara-Waterberg Tourism Project. CCF also had an exhibition booth full of information for educators about bringing their students to our Center. We gave out our predator education curriculum guides and offered educators opportunities for professional development.

The conference was a huge success and we look forward to making connections with other conservation institutions as well as further increasing conservation education in the formal school curriculums all across Africa.

This year, CCF had booths at the Okakarara, Otjiwarongo, Grootfontain, Gobabis and Windhoek agriculture shows (which are like county fairs) in September and October talking about livestock and wildlife management and reduction of human-wildlife conflict and how schools can visit CCF’s Education and Research Center. CCF also presented at several conferences and lectured nationally and internationally at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, American Zoo Medical Association, the South African Veterinary Association, the Namibian Veterinary Association, the European Parliament, University of Namibia, Namibia’s Polytechnic, Stanford and Cornell Universities in the U.S.

Local Educational Highlights

Dr. Laurie Marker and Namibian school children meeting Chewbacca, an adult male cheetah that was orphaned as a small cub and raised by Dr. Marker. (Photo: © Suzi Eszterhas)

Dr. Laurie Marker and Namibian school children meeting Chewbacca, an adult male cheetah that was orphaned as a small cub and raised by Dr. Marker. (Photo: © Suzi Eszterhas)

October and November have been busy months for school group visits at the CCF Namibian centre. OUR educators have hosted 426 students ranging from kindergarten learners to university students in the last two months. All learners participated in a guided tour of our center and cheetah museum, as well as our daily cheetah feeding. Learners were also able to participate in additional educational games, activities and crafts during their visits.

It has been a pleasure to host all of these learners in their last few months of the school year. Many of them were rewarded for their academic achievements for the year, and we were happy to provide one-on-one educational experiences for some schools’ at-risk youth. It is CCF’s goal to reach and educate as much of the Namibian youth as possible to encourage them to investigate and care for the natural world and all that call it home, and our educators have been encouraged by the large school turnout so late in the year.

Next year, CCF plans to visit more classrooms and host even more students at CCF’s Namibian Center.

We’re going to make 2015 the biggest and best year for our education program yet!

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