Project Summary

At Dambari Wildlife Trust we know it is critical to strengthen the relationship between community and the natural world, most importantly in our local region. In 2012 we launched the Schools Biodiversity Monitoring Project, which is one pillar of the Conservation Across Boundaries programme.

This is a multi-year schools programme that aims to equip the local students with the skills to monitor, and ultimately manage, the natural resources in their environment. At the start of the project conservation clubs were set up or revitalised at 5 secondary schools situated within a 10 km radius of the Matopos National Park. Dambari Field Officers undertake the training of both students and teachers in monitoring and data capture techniques.

This project not only helps our local young people to see the importance and wonder of our precious, local wildlife it also supports DWT to acquire baseline data on taxa within the school and local community area. The student and teacher training ensure data is collected in a consistent manner around Matobos Natural Park and also over time. Our local ‘citizen scientists’ are helping monitor the biodiversity health of our local region.

A recent evaluation of the programme, published in the linked report, points to an increase in knowledge and a positive mindset change towards the conservation of natural resources among the trained pupils, including a greater understanding of environmental stewardship.

Project Design

Approximately 200 children enrol in the programme each year. Over the school year, they learn a variety of sampling techniques and set up transects, quadrats and pitfall traps at their schools.

Each term the conservation clubs receive sets of laminated ID cards to help club members accurately identify species that will be seen at that time of the year. The students are also issued with data sheets onto which they can record sightings of fauna and flora during their daily activities, such as when collecting water and firewood, herding livestock and walking to and from school.

  1. The first term (wet season) is all about vegetation types,
  2. Second term (dry season) is about birds and
  3. Third term (early wet season) covers insects and amphibians.

As the data are accumulated, the students are taught to carry out simple analysis and prepare reports for their schools, communities and project supporters.

DWT carry out further analysis and maintain an electronic database that logs natural resource trends across seasons and years. This information will be of use to local communities and will assist them with the management of their natural resources.

In conjunction with the Bulawayo Natural History Museum samples of invertebrates and other fauna and flora collected are identified and feedback given to the schools. The schools compile charts for the classrooms to show the species and frequency of encounters over the seasons.

Dambari Wildlife Trust is delighted to be able to highlight below some of the work created by local students who take part in this programme.  

How You Can Help

This programme, which helps promote environmental stewardship, is often constrained due to lack of equipment. Extra pairs of binoculars, GPS devices and field guides will allow more kids to have hands-on participation in the club activities.  In addition, we would like to expand activities and outings beyond those supported by the primary donor Chessington Conservation Fund. Please consider supporting this important programme:

US$40 buys a field guide*, US$60 buys a pair of binoculars*; US$220 buys a handheld GPS device*.
(*Please note: these items need to be imported, and attract freight and duty charges)

US$15 sponsors a student’s visit to the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo (minimum trip size: 18 people)

US$10 sponsors a student’s visit to the National Park (minimum trip size: 18 people)

US$10 will buy a prize (e.g. stationery pack) for the most committed club member/s, presented at the schools’ annual prize-giving ceremonies

US$7 sponsors a club t-shirt or cap        US$5 sponsors a local field trip for one child

The reports linked below highlight the results and the evolution of this programme over recent years.