One of the most rewarding conservation initiatives I’ve been involved with in recent years is supporting the efforts of members of the Friends of Kinangop Plateau to halt the conversion of natural grasslands around Nairobi (Kenya) – home to the rapidly-declining Sharpe’s Longclaw – into cropland. I’ve posted many times about the project and the work I did on visits to Kinangop Plateau over the last few years, and have created a ‘gateway page’ which explains the project, looks at the participants, and goes into more detail about the very real threats to the beautiful Sharpe’s Longclaw: please go to http://www.talking-naturally.co.uk/fokp/
Quarterly report. (September – November 2011)
National Museums of Kenya, Zoology Department and Friends of Kinangop Plateau (FOKP)
David Fox, Luca Borghesio Dr. Muchane Muchai and Charlie Moores.
August and September 2011
Welcome to the first report on schools visits and teaching. It’s a brief report on the progress of the Programme that started in August. Apologies for late submission. As I alerted you I have been having a very tough semester that was very demanding and time was very limited for my schools work. Next year I hope to do much to accomplish the planned activities as outlined in part if of this report.
Please also note that I will do a separate report for the toilet project in Mugumoini Primary.
Mkungi Primary school.
In august I visited only Mkungi Primary school before the schools were closed for August Holiday. At Mkungi School, they have small patch of grassland that they use as playground. It has various species of birds. The school also borders Mkugi River that the school is named after. They are very interested to learn how to conserve their river. This motivated me to spend much during this fellowship in covering three areas of interest to all schools namely: Habitats, water and Biodiversity. At Mkungi we started briefly water and hoping to spend much more time next year. This school is the oldest in the region and could be a good case study for other to learn from.
September and October 2011
I visited Ndunyu, Kirarwa and Gatamaiyu primary schools.
At Ndunyu and Kirarwa I gave a talk to upper classes i.e. classes 4- 7 generally on importance of grasslands as home for birds and food for the livestock. This was a public demand by their respective patron. From these schools we agreed that next year we would work with class 6 and seven since it is a manageable group and they can also spread the message easier as well as be able to participate efficiently in the outdoor activities.
Fieldwork with Gatamaiyu primary school on 28th October 2011
Gatamaiyu primary school
Together with their school administration and Eden Club. We organized a field trip to Lake Naivasha’s Crescent Island. In Lake Naivasha I taught the pupils about the lake ecology and the importance of the water cycle. The pupils were able to appreciate where they fitted in the cycle.
We did the birdwatching for three hours both in the woodlands and the lake edge.
Various issues affecting lake Naivasha were addressed for instance; invasive species like water hyacinth and Siltation that are problematic to the lakes’ ecology.
Based on their home location, they understood their agricultural activities could be having some negative effect towards the lake since most of soil is washed down to the lake from Kinangop area through rivers that originate for Kinangop and beyond. I intend to do more awareness in this school next year in the above-mentioned areas.
16th – 18th October 2011
I attended Proceedings of Civil Society Meeting on the review of the environmental management and Co-0rdination Act EMCA. Held at Methodist Guest House Nairobi. I was please to have been invited to this high level meeting representing major counties in Kenya to discuss the this important Act. I represented both Friends of Kinangop Group as well as Nyandarua County.
In this period I concentrated much effort towards my studies as well as the Mugumoini toilet project. The project report will be sent separately.
Proposed activities January- September 2012
Schools to visit.
1. Ndunyu Primary School
2. Mkungi Primary School
3. Mwiruti Primary School
4. Murungaru Primary School
5. Purple heart Primary School
6. Hanjo Primary School
7. Mugumoini Primary School
8. Gatamaiyu Primary School
9. St. Paul’s Primary School
10. Kirarwa Primary School
First term January- March 2012
Relate human settlement to the environment
Expected Learning outcome
I. Identify how natural resources affect human settlements.
II. Explain the factors influencing human settlement.
III. Learn effect of human settlement on environment and habitat in general
Subject and curriculum links
Social studies – migration, settlement and urbanization
Science- Environment and energy
Languages- Environment, people and the communities.
Mathematics- Fractions and percentages
Writing pads and exercise books
Expected questions for future evaluation
1. Why do you thing your community live where they are?
2. What environmental resources do people in your community depend on?
3. What environmental factors might make people migrate to other areas?
4. How does the population growth affect natural resources?
5. How much grassland for the birds and grazing animal left in Kinangop?
Practical questions and discussion
Pupils in groups of five present about the following;
• Where they would like to live and why/
• Where they would not like to live and why?
• How they can do as individual and collectively to save the life of birds and other animal that depend on Grasslands?
April 2012- Report of the schools visited.
Activity 1: Debate
Organize debate on – what is the best use of piece of land with grass, trees, and small lake.
A group of ten pupils in each group will be selected to argue for and against the following subjects in relation to the said topic.
b. Livestock keeping
c. Factory to make shoes
d. Sanctuary for hiking and birdwatching
Activity 2: Water conservation
Understand the local water cycle and participate in improving the environment.
Identify the factors affecting the circulation of water
Subject and curriculum links
Social studies – Physical environment, resources and economic activities
Mathematics- time, measurement and capacity.
What are the effects of the following to the water cycle/?
3) Draining or destruction of wetlands
4) Soil erosion
5) Mention 5 source water pollution
6) List the eight lakes found in Rift valley of Kenya and 1 in Central Province
• Appreciate the biodiversity around us and acquire skills to sustain biodiversity near the school and home.
1) Understand what is biodiversity
2) Appreciate the wide range of biodiversity
3) Understand the different habitats in which animals live
4) Take action to sustain biodiversity.
Subject and curriculum links
Mathematics- measurement, numbers, volume and time.
Science – animals and environment, interdependence between plants and animals
Social studies- resource and economic activities.
1) List 5 domestic animals (mammals) you know and where they live
2) Name 5 wild animals (mammals) you know and where they live
3) Name 5 bird species you know and where you saw them
4) Name 5 reptiles that you know in Kenya
5) Name 5 insects that live near your school or home (vernacular language accepted)
6) Name 5 plants you know (vernacular language accepted)
7) Name 5 animals habitats
Activity 2: construct a simple bird-feeding table.
We will use locally available materials.
I am very grateful to David Fox and Family (UK) for extending their generosity toward me by renewing this fellowship for another one year. I lack better words to describe my appreciation. May God bless you. I promise to work very hard to realize most of the activities I have proposed to do during the fellowship period. To Luca Borghesio who has worked tirelessly to ensure that this fellowship is possible to you Luca, all this work is not in vain and will pay dividends some days to come. I recognize Dr. Muchane Muchai who has ensured that we receive our stipend timely and offer guidance in our work, many thanks to Charlie Moores, who has been encouraging and believing in me even when I don’t. You have put Kinangop in the world map and this will never be forgotten, we appreciate when you post our work in you blog, this is a major contribution and we pray that it will continue being a wonderful blog. I would like to thank my Colleague Bakari whom we work with and have similar situations for providing moral support and encouragement. Last but not by any means the least are the local communities and Schools that I work with, you have made me what I am today and I will continue being at your service.