Raising Conservation Awareness Through Education Coaching for Conservation®

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Established in 2009, the Amakhala Foundation contributes to the Amakhala Game Reserve’s (AGR) social development programmes and to the conservation and environmental educational projects of the Amakhala Conservation Centre (ACC), the ‘home to conservation’ established in 2003.

The Foundation’s mission is to teach children the importance of conserving animals and the environment for the future generations to see, and to cultivate an understanding and love of nature. They offer environmental education programmes to various local, mostly rural, primary schools. High school pupils are sponsored for a day of learning about habitats and ecosystems and experiencing the animals in their natural environment.

In 2013, The Foundation partnered with Coaching for Conservation® to help educate local children from around the reserve (Paterson, Addo, Alexandria, Alicedale and Grahamstown).

Founded by conservationist Lesley McNutt, Coaching for Conservation® is the primary social development project of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BPCT) and offers a variety of programmes in South Africa and Botswana.

In South Africa, Investec Rhino Lifeline sponsors Coaching for Conservation® at Amakhala to support the training of young ‘defenders’ to fight the mass killing of rhinos through education. “The future of our rhino depends on the passion of our youth,” says Tanya dos Santos, Investec Rhino Lifeline.

Coaching for Conservation® uses great mentorship, wildlife learning and sport as educational vehicles to teaching the children about wildlife and the learned skills and strategies that help animals to thrive and to be resilient in times of adversity, just as our children need to be.

The one-day programme led by Dr. Jennifer Gush, director of the Amakhala Foundation and principal educator for Coaching for Conservation® based at Amakhala and her team; Tammy, Mo and Gould; involves learning about rhino, followed by a series of different soccer-related games in which the kids learn to defend and protect what is important to them. After all the activities, kids enjoy game drives, looking for rhinos and other animals.

“Through the Coaching for Conservation® programme, I meet hundreds of school children each year and aim to inspire them to all become kids who care. I enjoy nothing more than being part of a child’s first wildlife experience. The thrill of seeing a child encounter a wild animal in its natural environment for the first time just never grows dull,” says Jennifer. “We need to teach children to care and to define their own appreciations and values. Coaching for Conservation® is moving to engage and influence young people across the country and across the globe, to become Kids Who Care.”

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“Coaching for Conservation is a brilliant idea, it is brilliant because it is simple. Most of us like sports, and all of us, if we just stop and think, love animals and the natural world around us. By combining the two, Coaching for Conservation is teaching us to value both”. - HRH, Prince William (Maun, Botswana, 2010).

For more information visit www.coachingforconservation.org or contact Dr Jennifer Gush on foundation@amakhala.co.za


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