My name is Paul Graham, I am from the UK and volunteering with ARK for three weeks this summer. I am very happy to be here learning and getting involved with the work that ARK does in the local area.
Today I went along to Mida Creek, around a 20 minute taxi drive from the A Rocha Site Mwamba. I observed one of the education programmes run by ARK in this area. The programme gave the chance for a group of students, some from a local primary and the others from a local secondary school to learn more about the diverse wildlife at Mida Creek. To begin with the students sat down and were welcomed by the programme leader Tsofa, an A Rocha worker. He started by discussing with the students the ecosystem and the use of food webs and chains. By doing this, hoping to explain the relationship between the different organisms in Mida Creek and showing the students how these relationships can be visualized.
Tsofa drawing an example of a food web
After this discussion had finished and the students had taken notes, they were taken out into the creek by guides to study the organisms. The main focus was to learn about the different species of mangroves and seabirds. The guides were extremely knowledgeable of the area, answering the questions of the students and showing a great passion about the environment and the wildlife. Eight of the nine species of Mangrove found in Kenya grow in Mida Creek and are used by humans for firewood as well as for traditional medicine. They are also very useful to the local environment as their roots take in salts from the sea water in order to keep the land fertile.
at various points around the tour there were information points explaining specific parts of the wildlife at Mida Creek.
One of the highlights of the tour was walking across the rope bridge, designed by A Rocha staff in order to get closer to the wildlife, it was clear that the students really enjoyed walking across the swinging bridge, through the Mangrove to get a different view of the surrounding area. All of the students seemed to take a great interest in the environment, with Mida Creek proving to be a great success story in terms of sustainable conservation, with all of the proceeds of the site going towards bursaries for students.