“Children have a natural affinity towards nature. Dirt, water, plants, and small animals attract and hold children’s attention for hours, days, even a lifetime.” – Ben Hewitt, Homegrown
We are excited to share the news that our forest school has adopted a pack of African Wild Dogs in order to help this wonderful, but critically endangered species to survive.
Further in this post I tell a little bit about how this adoption came about. But first, I wanted to share this wonderful documentary about African Wild Dogs. The documentary is by Kim Wolhuter, and I highly recommend his other nature documentaries.
“Dogs in the land of lions” film
If this video fails to load you can find it available for free here on PBS.ORG.
Fostering stewardship to nature
Fostering stewardship to nature has always been one of our most fundamental values. If you followed our blog or IG account you might have seen about our meeting with the wolves in December 2019 and the learning activities about them. And in 2020 we spent few weeks learning about birds, which was so much fun.
And during our walks and hikes in the forest we make a point of always spotting and picking up any trash we come across. We also leave bird seed and peanuts to support our furry and feathery friends throughout fall and winter.
In addition to the learning activities for children we have also donated funds to support animal rescue projects. Last year during the devastating fires in Australia we have donated a percentage of 2 months of tuition to support the rescue of animals affected by the fires. And more recently we have donated to support preservation of rainforest in Indonesia.
Why African Wild Dogs?
As so many species of animals face loss of habitat and other threats from human activity it is always hard to choose supporting one, while accepting not being able to help them all.
African Wild Dogs, also known as Painted Wolves, is a species that doesn’t get a lot of publicity, yet it is second most endangered carnivore in Africa. If you aren’t familiar with this species I very much recommend “Dogs in the land of lions” nature film by Kim Wolhuter embedded at the top of this post. In case the embedded video doesn’t work out you can also find it available for free here on PBS.ORG. As all canines they are extraordinary intelligent, charismatic, playful and fiercely loyal to each other.
But even though they have successfully shared ecosystem with such formidable predators like lions for thousands of years, the human activity in the past decades has driven their numbers to just 650 packs remaining in the wild and their numbers are dwindling quickly. Poacher snares is the main reason behind their rapid demise. The snares are typically not meant for the wild dogs, but just like the steel leg-holding traps used in US, these cruel devices are indiscriminate and trap and subject to a painful fait any animal that comes across it.
And so when a nature cinematograph and photograph whose work I long admired has recently featured Adopt a Pack campaign that works on rescuing African Wild Dogs from the snares I thought supporting such great project was a wonderful way to start our new year.
And so I adopted a pack as a part of this campaign for our school, making us an official guardian of the NOVA pack :).
I invite you to also adopt a pack. For the price of just 2 cups of coffee a month you could help to sponsor critical work of the rangers who patrol the bush in search of the snares and/or trapped animals. These ranges routinely find and rescue animals from snare traps, and provide them with needed medical aid right on the spot.
Our African Wild Dogs learning activities
Last week after we shared with the children the news of adoption of Nova pack we dove into all sorts of fun learning activities. We will have a summary of these activities posted to our blog soon, but in the meantime you can see some of them over on our IG account and in featured stories.