Our admissions’ team raises funds to help save animals in the wild through the sales of colorful wildlife bracelets guests can buy at the entrance to the Zoo. In 2015, the Zoo established this conservation hero award program called Wildlife Warriors to use the bracelet funds to recognize and enhance the outstanding staff employed by the Zoo’s existing conservation partners. The program has awarded 15 Wildlife Warriors to date from our conservation projects in developing countries. All of the warriors honored were carefully chosen by the Zoo’s admissions’ team. The award is designed to increase the recipient’s conservation community network and inspire empowerment by providing opportunities to gain further education through training or experiences.
Valerie Akuredusenge, Program Director of Conservation Heritage-Turambe was selected as a Wildlife Warrior in 2016. Just last month she completed her training with a conservation education program in nearby Uganda called UNITE. Below is an account of Valerie’s training, in her own words:
To wrap up my story telling about my time with Unite, I am happy to share about my experience and what I took back from my visit.
During my visit with UNITE for the Environment, I was able to learn about their conservation programs namely Teacher Training and Evaluation by observing teachers while they are teaching in the classroom to assess teaching methods, quality of content used, and whether or not they are integrating environmental education into their teaching. In addition, I was also given the opportunity to visit two partner schools of UNITE.
What I took back from UNITE to CHT:
What I took back from the UNITE’s Teacher Training is that their approach helps in terms of sharing conservation messages to a wider audience and one can expand upon the program to more areas. As far as CHT builds up its teacher training through annual open day, my experience with UNITE will significantly contribute in terms of strengthening and improving our existing program.
As far as the UNITE’s evaluation is concerned, I had time to also observe teachers while they were teaching. By connecting my experience from Teacher training and that of teacher observation, I could really tell that the teachers were integrating environmental education in their teaching. This is another approach that CHT will try to see if it applies by collaborating with its partner schools and education officers.
By also visiting UNITE’s partner schools, I learned about what communities and schools are doing in terms of environmental conservation.
In short; I deeply thank the Houston Zoo and its Admission Team for having selected me as one of their wildlife warrior winners in 2016. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the North Carolina Zoo for their wonderful program, UNITE for the Environment. Corrine Kendall finds my sincere thanks here as well for playing an important role while putting me in touch with UNITE. Additionally, I would however request a continuous collaboration between CHT and UNITE so we can keep on exchanging programs and learning from each other.