The second Children’s Bushcamp of the Leo Foundation in Cameroon was a big success! This April 216 children and their teachers stayed one and a half day at Bénoué National Park. During an interactive program the children learned about the flora and fauna of the nature close to home. ‘Both the children as their teachers told us that they learned many new things regarding nature,’ reports Elise Bakker from the field.
Between 17 April and 24 April 2017, the second Childrens Bushcamp 2017 in Bénoué National Park, North Cameroon was held. It was a very successful activity in which local children and their teachers got the opportunity to get to know their national park where they are living close to, and often have never visited. During the week, we have received three groups of around 75 children and their teachers to stay one and a half day in Bénoué NP. In total, this means that 216 local pupils and 26 teachers have participated during the Childrens Bushcamp!
The children were picked up by busses at their schools early in the morning and brought inside Bénoué NP. After arrival, the day was started with a light breakfast. Then all children were again subdivided in three groups and received a name batch. Finally it was time to start the first lessons. During their stay the children received lessons in Herbivores/Carnivores, Botany and Ecosystem/Habitat. Lessons were both theoretical as well there was an outdoor activity and indoor practice. Over the one and a half day that the children were in the park, they attended classes in all three subjects.
Both the children as their teachers told us that they learned many new things regarding nature. Besides, they saw different types of wildlife (Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Kob, Buffalo etc.) for the first time in their life!
After dinner and a good shower, the evening was closed with a nature documentary about large carnivores in a real bush cinema atmosphere. Children and the teachers slept in the touristic camp of Bénoué NP. Everybody was honoured to get the chance to sleep in the famous camp of which they had heard so much about in the villages. The next day, again one course was given and before the children would head back home, a game of Bingo was played, and all children received a diploma and photos were taken as a reminder of a wonderful time.
Courses were given by experienced teachers from Ecole de Faune Garoua. For the bush activities and practices, they were assisted by 16 Eco-guards from Bénoué NP and 6 Lion guards. They were important to tell about their bush experiences, but also to safeguard the security of all visitors. Moreover, we were blessed with well-oiled machine in the kitchen which served three meals per day on time. Two drivers from Ecole de Faune, Garoua were indispensable for bringing the pupils to and back school driving through rough terrain. Last, personnel of the Camp of Bénoué NP was kindly available for extra supporting activities such as pumping water, or helping in the kitchen.
The protected areas in the Bénoué complex are currently heavily under threat by different types of human encroachments. It is important to teach the local communities about the importance of their ecosystem and why and how to protect it for future generations. In this project we are aiming for the young generations, since they are still open to learn and are often not fixed in old habits.
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