August has come and gone, and I cannot believe I am saying this but the entire team here at Bisate is hoping for us to finally get some big rain! We totalled just 30mm of rain for the entire month, which is almost a record low since we started tracking the rainfall in 2018. The good news is that the property is still looking amazingly green, and all of the forests are continuing to reach ever higher. The team has already started the preparations for next season and our nursery is practically overflowing with the next generation of saplings that will one day cover the entire Bisate property with canopy, bush, and shrub.
Wilderness Rwanda co-hosts conservation camps for 80 children
Eighty young learners from six schools in Rwanda’s Kinigi area were hosted on two very successful four-day Conservation Camps in August 2023, in partnership with Children in the Wilderness (CITW), Conservation Heritage-Turambe, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Muhisimbi Youth in Conservation. All the children were selected because they are members of Environmental Clubs at their schools and amongst the most motivated students of their clubs.
“As the main program under the Educate pillar of our impact strategy, we are proud to see the growing success of Children in the Wilderness in Rwanda, and to work with our like-minded partners to host these informative and fun Conservation Camps. Our collective efforts increase the impact we can make, and together we can achieve so much more”, noted Aline Umutoni, Wilderness Rwanda Community and CITW Co-Ordinator.
The fun workshops and activities were held at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Ellen DeGeneres Campus. On the fourth and final day of each of the camps, an outing to Wilderness Bisate focused on its reforestation program and the importance of the children looking after their environment.
During their workshops, the students learned about gorilla behaviour and ecology, the national parks of Rwanda, threats to biodiversity in Volcanoes National Park and the necessary actions to help protect it, plus the importance of birds in ecosystems. There was also time for arts and crafts, many different games, and songs, and of course snacks and meals, which were very popular.
The Wilderness Bisate field trip included a visit to the indigenous tree nursery, followed by hiking one of the nature trails on the property. In the nursery the children were welcomed by the Bisate agronomists who explained the process from seed to sapling to tree, the importance of biodiversity in trees and how to look after a sapling. Whilst hiking on the nature trails the different trees were identified and more questions followed. The visit to Bisate ended with each child choosing their own sapling to plant at their home.
From Bisate, a conservation parade back to the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund followed. With a police escort, the group of children marched through the community singing songs which carried their conservation message.
The closing ceremony of the Conservation Camps took place in the presence of sector leaders, RDB representatives, the headmasters of the six schools, and journalists from the local newspaper and television station.
Next month we continue with our staff cross-pollination efforts in Rwanda, in which we see our managers exchange camps, and spend up to a month working in a different environment. This month we welcome the exchange between Bisate and our sister camp Magashi. With this move, we have Rachel coming over to us, and our Assistant Manager Loyce will be spending some time in the beautiful Akagera National Park. While we are going to miss Loyce very much, we are excited for two of our lovely female managers to have the opportunity to experience and add their unique personalities to our camps.
Bisate road construction
The drainage lines of the road construction are almost complete, and have been taking shape rather quickly! This is particularly exciting as the next step after the drainage lines is to install the beautifully cut volcanic rock bricks that will eventually make up the driveway to Bisate. We have a multitude of local stone masons from our neighbouring villages who have been hard at work making this all possible. It all feels like a big coming together of different departments, and we are very excited to finally see what our first stone driveway to Bisate will look like. We cannot wait to have the beautiful entrance that Bisate deserves!
“The staff are so kind, thoughtful and welcoming. The rooms are extraordinary, the food was delicious. I am so impressed with the amazing work that Wilderness is doing with the local community”.
J & T
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