Like many others around the world, we have moved our education programming online. Our educators have been successful in their efforts to translate our on-site environmental education programming into distance learning using a series of online tools. It is important that we can continue to reach students.
Prior to March 2020, our educators conducted in person environmental education programs on an almost daily basis. We hosted school groups for day tours and for immersive, overnight experiences at CCF’s Camp Lightfoot.
Since we began our school outreach efforts more than 20 years ago, more than 650,000 students have either been to our Centre or participated in our outreach programs in their local schools. But when local travel restrictions were imposed in Namibia mid-March, we had to get creative. At first, we weren’t sure how long the situation would continue. But after two weeks, it became apparent we would need to adapt to move forward.
We have a dedicated network of teachers across Namibia and we are conducting our distance learning with their assistance via email, instant messaging, video conferencing and pre-recorded video lessons. CCF’s educators chose VoiceThreads, a collaborative, multimedia slide show, to make the initial series of online lessons based on our Teacher’s Resource Guide.
In the US, CCF’s New York chapter held a virtual summer camp “Cheetah Extravaganza” to gather kids together online via Zoom for cheetah themed activities. They hosted art events, animal movement class, book readings and virtual tours with staff from the Bronx Zoo (btw there’s a Bronx Zoo tour happening on August 12th). The events were all well attended and served as a learning experience for us too. As a result, we now have a blueprint for this type of fun online activity moving forward.
Though we all do feel a bit isolated, especially when thinking back to our pre-pandemic visitation rates, we are keeping busy and reaching out in all the ways we can. In October we hope to make a big impact for CCF’s 30th anniversary tour which will be an all-day, virtual celebration of the cheetah. We will be posting the details soon and hope you will join us!