This blog was written by Mollie Coym, a Supervisor in the Zoo’s Bird Department. Mollie Coym received an award from the American Association of Zoo Keepers and support from the Houston Zoo to visit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. We will be posting a series of blogs as Mollie documents her experiences overseas.
One of the key factors of conservation is education. Lewa strives to educate people of all levels. One of the educational services they provide is their Conservation Education Center. The CEC is like a small museum with educational displays that teach visitors about Lewa, why poaching is bad, why it is important to practice sustainable farming, and why pollinators are important. They also have dorms on site that allow groups from further away communities to have the opportunity to spend the night and learn all about Lewa.
Lewa also helps to sponsor many local schools through funding new buildings, food programs so the children stay in school, and scholarships that support further education. Many of the students who receive the scholarships are orphaned and needy children. The schools also work to teach the children about responsible farming, wildlife protection and water usage. In addition, Lewa also conducts adult literacy programs.
All of these educational programs are key to getting the surrounding communities involved in caring about wildlife and taking action to conserve the environment. The communities get to see the direct benefits of protecting wildlife through Lewa’s support of schools and the bursary programs.
To learn more about Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, please visit www.lewa.org.