Here in Kenya we’re being hosted by Camps International, staying at their Camp Makongeni, just outside Diani. Peter Kalenga Kaiis works for Camps International as a Project Co-ordinator for their conservation programmes and he has joined the course to find out just what it’s all about…
Before I arrived, I didn’t realise how privileged I was to be among the few conservationists chosen to attend this course and help save EDGE species. Now I’m here, I have no doubt that I am truly lucky.
Cath, Craig, Dave and Raj (the ZSL crew) arrived two days early to check logistics and prepare for the participants arrival. As a member of Camps International staff I was already in camp, eager to help where I could. The remaining course participants arrived on the 21st, having travelled from Bahamas, Panama, Colombia, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya.
The course officially commenced on the 22nd with everyone raring to learn new tools for conservation. Craig, David and Cath started the course off with an impressive introduction to ZSL and EDGE as well as an outline of the course. The talks were highly informative and everyone clearly understood ZSL’s mission to conserve biodiversity.
Craig proceeded with the Principles of Conservation Biology module, outlining the importance of biodiversity, concepts for understanding biodiversity, threats to biodiversity, and protection and restoration methods. The introduction part of the course was crucial for laying the foundations for the rest of the course.
We moved on to focus on the ecological monitoring module; starting with the conceptual framework for monitoring and sampling methods. After all monitoring and survey methods had been clearly explained, everyone was busy practising how to use basic field survey equipment and some more complicated equipment like camera traps. It was my first time using some of this equipment and I found it challenging, but eventually I managed.
Having learnt these skills, Cath and Raj took the terrestrial group to Shimba Hills to start the camera trap mini project while Dave and Craig drove to Shimoni with the coral participants. I went with the terrestrial participants. I was so excited. We left at 7.00am and after 3 hours we broke into two groups and the work began! It took us 6hrs to complete deploying all cameras.
We have covered a lot and I’m looking forward to the next step – this course is incredibly valuable. It’s my hope that at the end of the course I will be a professional ecologist!
The EDGE Conservation Tools training course forms part of the EDGE Fellowship programme – to learn more click HERE