Dec 1, 2012

Teaching conservation in Ol Bolossat grasslands!

Let me introduce a friend of mine: George Ndungu is a self-taught ornithologist, native to Ol Bolossat area in central Kenya. Ol Bolossat is an important site for conservation: it is one of the few remaining chunks of natural highland grassland, and a wetland supporting large numbers of resident and migratory birds, and many rare species.
Ol Bolossat is threatened by the expansion of human activities, but local people are unaware that they live in place having such an importance for conservation.
George wrote a project to teach about conservation in the schools located in Ol Bolossat area. This is a very important idea, because people will only protect the environment if they know its value. 
I propose to fund George's proposal with a donation that will enable him to work for two months in the local Primary Schools.
Please read George's proposal below

Project Title: Creating community awareness on biodiversity value of Lake Ol’ bolossat 
By George Ndung'u Muigai, Nyahururu Bird Club

George Ndung’u Muigai
I was brought up in Njunu Farm, Nyandarua County in Kenya, within Lake Ol’bolossat ecosystem. After finishing my high school education, I got an opportunity to learn bird identification and guiding skills. 
Since then, I have been participating in research activities mostly involving the life of birds including counting to monitor changes in numbers, ringing (marking birds using rings on their legs), awareness programmes, guiding, and research on the role of birds in agricultural land that is still ongoing. It is out of this participation that have gained me more skills concerning the life of birds and the environment in general, especially for Lake Ol’bolossat. This has led me to write a book titled “Nyoni na Andu” (Birds and people) in my language (kikuyu) which majority of people within Lake Ol’ bolossat ecosystem can clearly understand, with a message on importance of birds in peoples lives, whereby the main objective is to create awareness to cultivate a sense of natural resources conservation.

Nyahururu Bird Club
Nyahururu Bird Club (NBC) is a registered club under Nyandarua District Social Development office, Nyandarua County Kenya . NBC is also a registered group member with Nature Kenya (The East African Natural History Society) where they have been recognized as a site support group for Lake Ol’ bolossat. It is made up of individuals who are firmly committed to environmental conservation. One of their objectives is to offer conservation education for school’s wildlife and environmental clubs and the community at large. They also participate in local decision making and offer guidance to local authorities and government departments.

Lake Ol’ bolossat is the only natural lake in Kenya’s Central Province. It covers an area of 43.3 km2 of which open water is about 4 km2. The wetland offers a variety of habitat ranging from open water to the floating marsh/swamps, open grasslands dominated by tussock grass, and riverine forests along rivers and springs that feed it. The lake holds a wealth of birds (over 100 species) some of them in large numbers, others only known to occur in a restricted area of the world, whereas others are globally recognized as threatened. The lake is one of the 61 sites recognized as Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Kenya. Key bird species include Maccoa Duck, African Black Duck, Aberdare Cisticola, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Long-tailed Widowbird, Great White Egret, African Marsh Harrier, Saddle-billed Stork and Great crested grebe among others.
This wetland is facing threat due to human activities in and around it, such as quarrying, uncontrolled grazing, poaching, fire, uncontrolled water obstruction, urban development, poor soil and water management. These have resulted to interference with flora and fauna that rely on the health status of this lake. The potential and sustainability of this natural resource as an Important Bird Area (IBA) deeply depend on the communities around lake’s ecosystem. One step to achieve a mind of conservation amongst these communities is empowering local people with information about this lake.

Main objective
To create community awareness about the biodiversity value and promote a sense of conservation among the community living around Lake Ol’bolossat, a globally recognized Important Bird Area in Kenya.

Target Groups
Primary schools in the Ol Bolossat and Nyahururu area

Method of Implementation 
  • Holding lectures during school’s environment and wildlife clubs activities and donating one bird watching guide book in each four schools. 
  • Giving out copies of the book “Nyoni na andu” (Birds and people)
Project duration
2 months (January-February 2012)

  • Improved knowledge amongst community on the value of wetlands and birds in people’s life. 
  • Donation of 200 copies of Nyoni na Andu book to the community.
  • Introduction of bird watching in schools

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate that there's someone concerned about the only Lake in our county and the life it holds. I wish there are more people who would come in and emphasize it's worth and take action to conserve it. I also wish that our government would put into consideration taking the necessary course of action to see that Lake ol bolosat is recognized and the life in it conserved and that it's state is upgraded to attract massive levels of tourism;both local and international.