In a fundraising event spearheaded by Celesta von Chamier, ably assisted by some very enthusiastic volunteers and members of the Mukuvisi Woodlands team, energetic children both of primary and secondary school-going age explored the Woodlands, participated in various fun competitions, and learned lots about wildlife and their environment that they didn’t know. Not just the children though — for the adults involved, myself included, also learnt not something new, but many things!
For a start, the volunteers who manned the Discover Mukuvisi stations — tables set up in the bush at various points along the 5km route — had to prepare themselves for the onslaught of the eight teams who would visit them during the course of the day, beefing up on their allotted topic so they could give the children an interesting and informative talk, and of course, make sure that they knew the answers to the very searching competition quiz questions given them by Mukuvisi Education Officer Gibson Nhokwara and his team.
Though some schools withdrew at the final hour due to multiple commitments on every hand at this time of year, there were still plenty of contesting teams — in the primary group, two teams from Hartmann House — the Dragons and the Little Saints — Chisipite, St John’s and Twin Rivers, in the secondary group, Arundel, Westridge and Gateway.
The juniors were in a particularly competitive spirit, and war cries rang out through the day.
The Discover Mukuvisi stations covered a wide range of environmental and wildlife related topics — birds’ nests, raptors, water birds, trees, butterflies and moths, soil types, animal dung identification, tortoises, mammals, bush survival tips, snakes and more.
The competition kicked off at the Waterfowl Pond itself with the collection of rubbish (placed there purely for the purpose), against the clock, which was weighed. Then the teams set off on their march, tracking down the eight stations along the way, where they enjoyed a presentation and answered a quiz question.
There were also a number of fun, competitive games to play, and at the end, a lot of fun with water balloons, which helped to cool everyone down! Chisipite Junior won the junior competition overall, Westridge, the senior, and the school which raised the most money for the project was St John’s. Their prizes will bring the winning schools back to enjoy the Woodlands at two night bush camps.
With sponsorship from NMB Bank who supplied the T-shirts, Duly’s, already a major donor for the project, Syngenta, The Cheeseman and APS, the atmosphere was vibrant and enjoyable, the weather absolutely perfect and the event, the first of its kind, a great success.
Over US$2 000 was raised for the Waterfowl Pond Rehabilitation Project and all involved seemed intent on a repeat of the event next year, and the introduction of some sort of similar fun event for adults.
BY ROSIE MITCHELL