Cheetah Conservation Fund Hosts Girl Scouts and Girl Guides for Second Half of “Voice of the Cheetah” Dual-Nation Immersive Cheetah Conservation Experience
OTJIWARONGO, Namibia (8 August 2017) – Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) welcomed a contingency of 11 young women from the Girl Scouts of the United States and three Girl Guides from South Africa at its Centre last week. Enrolled in grades 9 through 12, the young learners were brought together by a deep interest in learning about cheetah conservation, protection and advocacy. The visit was the second half of a two-part, two-nation, immersive conservation learning experience, “Voice of the Cheetah”, that began in Washington, D.C. last year.
At CCF Namibia, the group spent three days and three nights taking part in conservation activities, beginning with tours of CCF’s Cheetah Museum and Education Centre. CCF staff introduced the group to its conservation initiatives, including the Livestock Guarding Dog Programme and Model Farm operations. Staff scientists explained cheetah genetic challenges at its Applied Biosystems Conservation Genetics Laboratory, and the group also visited CCF’s veterinary clinic for a presentation on cheetah health. On their third day, they were treated to a Scat Dog demonstration and two safari drives. Over the course of their time at CCF, the girls took part in nature hikes, cheetah feeding and exercise activities, and learnt how CCF scientists use satellite radio collars, camera traps, and other technology as tools in their ecology research.
In June 2016, the same group spent six days in the US. Capital, where they spent time and meeting with experts in fundraising, biology, conservation and politics. Their itinerary included educational visits to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, The National Zoo, and CCF fundraising headquarters. They also visited with legislators on Capitol Hill as an introduction to the subject of advocacy.
At the culmination of the 31 July – 3 August stay at CCF, the Girl Scout group made Dr Laurie Marker and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Girls Scouts, presenting her with a pin to denote this status.
“It has been a true pleasure to work with this group of thoughtful, intelligent and fully-engaged young learners over the past two years”, said Dr Laurie Marker. “This two-nation learning experience was a first-of-its-kind experience for both the Girl Scouts and myself, and I think it was very successful. Most exciting for me, among these girls are our next generation of educators, scientists, conservationists and political leaders. They represent the cheetah’s best hope for a long-term future on this planet”.
In all, the group spent 10 days in Namibia, visiting Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast, the Namib-Naukluft National Park, and Etosha National Park in addition to CCF. The group was led by Lesley Robinson, Vice President of Girl Leadership Experience, Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina, and the trip was sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina.