Kenyan youth getting involved in Conservation
Blog by Esther Serem, Kenyan undergraduate intern
“CONSERVATION! CONSERVATION! CONSERVATION! ” everybody sings but seems we do not know its meaning. In Wikipedia it means “the act of preserving, guarding, or protecting.” Ask yourself this question “Am I really conserving?” If yes, what are you conserving and in which way?
The word conservation is among the common words that crisscross my mind every time I interact with nature. When I get to a forest, I know I should not destroy someone’s habitat either by cutting down trees or through pollution. When I get to a water body, I know I should conserve water so that someone somewhere gets water to survive. By doing all these I help in conserving wildlife which in this case I refer to all the flora and fauna which are not domesticated by humans.
The Elephants and Bees Project has made me fall in the category of “experienced people.” What I have seen, heard, done and learnt while in my internship cannot be explained in a day or by writing on paper but I can say something brief about my experience.
Photo: Esther working with Nzai, one of the project’s Beehive Fence farmers in Mwakoma Village
As we all know most non-domesticated animals and plants are found in the bush and so are the researchers with a passion in wildlife. Having an interest in wildlife needs someone who is ready to live a simple life and a person who can tolerate the hardship of “kichakani”. I did not know that there were people who can live in a tent for months until July this year when I started living in a tent. I was so worried during my first night in the Elephants and Bees Project campsite because I thought an elephant would come in the middle of the night and carry my tent with me.
Apart from living in a tent for a month I have also been reminded of the phrase ‘what a man can do a woman can do” with some people saying back ‘a woman can do better!’ Getting work done and working towards achieving goals needs every effort and this is what I have found fascinating volunteering on the project.
Photo: Interns Cristy and Esther work on turning Elephant-Friendly Beeswax into Elephant-Friendly Lip Balm in the Research Center kitchen.
One of my projects has been plant identification and collection (of flowering plants) which was done with the aim of documenting the honey bee fodder during the dry season. This is to find out what bees collect from each plant and to measure the percentage sugar the bees obtain from those flowering plants. I am still working on this project.
Photo (above): Cristy and Esther help collect plant specimens for the bee fodder project
Photo (below): Cristy and Esther help to re-set camera traps around the beehive fence protected farms to try to photograph crop-raiding elephants
Thanks to Dr. Lucy for this innovative project that has created such environment for the youngsters to learn and get experience and foremost to CONSERVE NATURE and particular the elephants and the bees.
Photos: Esther enjoying her first sighting of Luggards Falls in a field trip with the Elephants and Bees team into Tsavo East National Park