Dominic Kimani: Annual Report (Sharpe’s Longclaw and education in Kinanagop)

sharpes longclaw
Breeding-plumaged Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei. Kinangop, February 2009. Photo copyright Charlie Moores


sharpes longclaw
Non-breeding Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei. Kinangop, June 2008. Photo copyright Charlie Moores


In June 2008 I was fortunate to photograph the Endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei (or Gathonjo ka wer-ini in Kikuyu), a pipit-like species entirely restricted to the rapidly disappearing grasslands of the 77,000ha Kinangop Plateau (an hour’s drive from Nairobi). I offered the photographs to any interested conservation organisations and – unexpectedly – within a few months found myself in a position where I was actively supporting conservation in the region and had begun working with local NGOs (in particular the Friends of Kinangop Plateau (FoKP)) and local stakeholders.

I was able to visit Kinangop a number of times and collected my posts. photos, and updates on a ‘gateway page which can be found at Sharpe’s Longclaw/FOKP. My support has continued and here is the latest Report from Kinangop, written by inspirational conservationist Dominic Kimani who lives locally and has been funded by David Fox to go into local schools to educate Kinangop’s future landowners about the requirements of unimproved grassland for the Sharpe’s Longclaw.


Teaching conservation in Kinangop Grasslands

Final report. (May – August 2011 Report)

By Dominic Kimani (

National Museums of Kenya, Zoology Department and Friends of Kinangop Plateau (FOKP)

Report sent to David Fox, Luca Borghesio Dr. Muchane Muchai and Charlie Moores.



This programme was carried out in Kinangop schools between August 2010 and July 2011. A total of 5500 pupils were reached in the 11 primary schools and 2800 students from secondary schools were reached.

10 pupils and 10 students from Primary and secondary schools respectively were selected randomly to take the proposed ten questions before the lesson and after the lesson. This report begins by highlighting May – August 2011 and thereafter summarizes what was done in one year project (‘Teaching conservation in Kinangop Grassland’).


The following schools were visited

  • Karima Seconadary school
  • Kitogo Secondary school
  • Mkungi Secondary school
  • Plain Hill Secondary school
  • Kitogo Primary School
  • Mkungi Primary
  • Kirarwa Primary
  • Soweto Academy
  • Kambata Primary
  • Wheatland Secondary Schools
  • Hanjo Academy
  • Mugumoini Primary


The above schools were visited between May and July 2011. This was not the first time to come to these schools but the initial visits were brief.

The following topics were covered during the visits, we had proposed.

    1. Sustainable agriculture – the practices of agriculture that are friendly to our biodiversity (more emphasis was based on Grassland and riparian ecosystems) (Agriculture that is compatible to grassland conservation) the Agriculture teachers were very useful in this topic. Most of the children had some knowledge about agriculture, but they were not aware that unsustainable agriculture was driving Sharpe’s Longclaw to extinction.


    1. Importance of Sharpe’s Longclaw as a bio-indicator of Change in Grassland ecosystem – I did demonstrations in the school compounds Nature Reserve and in Mbae’s Dam grasslands.


Survey and Monitoring Demonstrations at FOKP 

Due to logistical challenges I decided to conduct the lessons where students and their teachers were easily found, i.e. most schools have set club days and games times which are normally after classes. As a rule of extension training the classroom is where the audience can be easily reached.

On average I had between 40 minutes to 1-hour contact time with the students.

During my teaching and in consultation with the teachers we came to an agreement that pupils preferred practical lessons to classroom work.


Summary of the project activities 

Schools visited during the Project

Primary Schools

  1. Murungaru
  2. Ndunyu
  3. Hanjo
  4. Ndaracaini
  5. Kambata
  6. Soweto
  7. Mugumoini
  8. Kitogo
  9. Mkungi
  10. Kirarwa
  11. St. Paul’s


Secondary schools

    1. Ndunyu
    2. Karima
    3. Mkungi
    4. Plain Hill
    5. Kenya Wheatlands
    6. Murungaru
    7. Kimuri


There were some adjustments to the schools visited. Only schools from North Kinangop were visited this was again due to logistical problems. 7 out of the proposed secondary schools were visited. Both primary and secondary schools were the feasible number that I managed to visit. 


1.Field demonstrations

Pupils from respective schools were engaged in a range of simple field techniques that are used in grassland bird monitoring.

Flash and count method (for grassland birds)

I demonstrated the flash and count methods to various schools in the Kinangop Sharpe’s Longclaw Nature Reserve. This was in line with our proposal to use various methods to reach and teach the students in Kinangop.


Waterfowl census techniques (water birds)

Four schools were involved in this exercise. I demonstrated counting methods during the World Migratory Day.

The reasons for carrying out these demonstrations was due to public demand from schools especially by the club patrons who wanted their student to have exposure to various techniques and methods that they learn in their biology and agriculture classes.


Schools Date of the visit Venue
Primary Schools    
Murungaru 19th/2/11, 14th/ 5/11 School ground
Mugumoini 8th/ 4/11, 14th/ 5/11 FOKP Resource Centre
Hajo 19th/2/11 FOKP Resource Centre
Mkungi 21st /3/11, 30th/7/11 School
Kirarwa 7th/9/10 School
St. paul’s 14th/ 9/10 School
Ndaracaini 2nd/ 2/11, 19th/2/11 School
Ndunyu 4th/10/10 School
Kitogo 11th/10/10 School
Kambata 18th/10/10 School
Soweto 14th/ 5/11 School
Ndunyu 7th/3/11 School Dinning Hall
Karima 14th/3/11 School Dinning Hall
Mkungi 11th/7/11 FOKP Resource Centre
Plain Hill 28th/ 5/11, 5th
/ 6/ 11
FOKP Resource Centre
Kenya Wheatlands 2nd /5/11 FOKP Resource Centre
Murungaru 16th/5/11 FOKP Resource Centre
Kimuri 19th/2/11, 14th/
FOKP Resource Centre


      NB Not all dates are included since some schools were visited more than twice depending on the needs. 

Questions evaluations

In the proposal I prepared 10 questions that were distributed to school to measure the level of understanding our programme.

Each question was given a score of 5 marks.

For convenience I presented the questions to ten students in each school, i.e. 5 boys and 5 girls.

In total 100 pupils in primary schools were tested and fifty student in high school did the questions administered to them.

The results are summarized in the table below: 

Primary  schools 

Before the lesson

of School
No. of pupil who took the test Maximum score required per pupil Score per school Maximum score per
Mugumoini 10 50 196 500
Murungaru 10 50 199 500
Ndunyu 10 50 198 500
Hajo 10 50 234 500
Mkungi 10 50 194 500
Ndaracaini 10 50 170 500
Kambata 10 50 209 500
Soweto 10 50 255 500
Kirarwa 10 50 199 500
Kitogo 10 50 181 500
Total 100 500 2035 5000


After the lesson

of School
No. of pupil who took the
Maximum score required per
Score per school Maximum score per
Mugumoini 10 50 362 500
Murungaru 10 50 325 500
Ndunyu 10 50 380 500
Hajo 10 50 357 500
Mkungi 10 50 383 500
Ndaracaini 10 50 388 500
Kambata 10 50 409 500
Soweto 10 50 385 500
Kirarwa 10 50 358 500
Kitogo 10 50 389 500
Total 100 500 3736 5000


Secondary schools 

Before the lesson

of School
No. of pupil who took the
Maximum score required per
Score per school Maximum score per
10 50 252 500
Kimuri 10 50 250 500
10 50 235 500
Ndunyu 10 50 233 500
Mkungi 10 50 240 500
Total 50 250 1210 2500


After the lesson

of School
No. of pupil who took the
Maximum score required per
Score per school Maximum score per
10 50 452 500
Kimuri 10 50 450 500
10 50 380 500
Ndunyu 10 50 400 500
Mkungi 10 50 480 500
Total 50 250 2162 2500



Primary Schools

Hanjo academy was the best Primary school before the lesson followed closely by Kambata. Hanjo is a private school, the pupils are well exposed to emerging issues and they have better facilities. The school population is small and manageable.

Kambata on the other hand is a public school. It became the best school after the lesson. The school administration prepared the pupils efficiently and they were generally well-behaved pupils. The pupils were seen making notes during the lesson hence they were likely to refer to the notes

In all primary schools there was a better improvement after the lesson, it can therefore be concluded that lessons are very important in order to bridge the knowledge gaps that exists.   

Secondary Schools

In Secondary schools, Plain Hill emerged the best school in terms of test performance both before and after the lesson. Kimuri was the second best. These two schools were very active all through the programme and they remained focused. There was also better support from their respective administrations. 


There has been continued cultivation of the grasslands but we have done our best to work with the pupils who will be the future users of land. I strongly believe that we will have a change if we have informed citizens.

Next programme is intended to work more closely with the farmers.

I cannot forget to mention that I experienced some logisitical challenges and IT failures in what I had proposed. I’m happy that all of you understood my predicament and I now promise to work very hard in the future.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This was a very interesting programme working with kids. In all 11 primary schools and 7 secondary schools we worked with, there was a general feeling that outdoor activities were preferred most by the pupils and students.



When implementing this work I have benefited from intellectual support from numerous individuals and institutions. I am particularly indebted to David Fox Family from UK, Luca Borghesio  (Italy) for their kind financial support.  I say a big thank you and God bless you. Dr. Muchai has been providing guidance and moral support. All this work is based on your research’s
recommendations on future of Sharpe’s Longclaw.

I am very grateful to all schools that we worked with; they have remained my inspirational. FOKP provided space for lecturers and demonstrations fields, I am particularly grateful to Andrew Mwangi for his unwavering support. 

Thank you.


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores

One Comment

  1. Dominic says:

    Hi Charlie,
    i am happy the blog is still strong,
    i will soon be sending the first report about the education and conservation work.
    God bless you for your great work.

Comments are now closed for this article.


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