At Great Plains, we know effective and lasting conservation is only possible with the support of local communities. For that reason, Great Plains has been busy growing and expanding its conservation education and outreach activities through the Great Plains Foundation. Through the expansion of existing, long-running programs and the implementation of new ones, Great Plains is reaching new communities and individuals with one goal in mind: to protect and conserve Africa’s wild places.
In Botswana we recently piloted two new programs; one, Conservation Goals, uses sports to engage communities in conservation. The Great Plains Foundation partnered with former professional football player and conservationist, Gordon Gilbert, to host a series of soccer clinics, engaging nearly 100 participants around conservation through sport.
For the second new program, the Great Plains Foundation partnered with the CLAWS Conservancy to host a traditional herding workshop in communities bordering the Okavango Delta. These courses bridge the gap between generations; revitalizing long-held, but rarely employed in modern times, traditional herding practices for cattle farmers. Through sharing historical lessons on how large herbivores (such as elephants and buffalo) as well as large predators (such as big cats) and livestock co-existed for earlier generations the Great Plains Foundation is celebrating these unique cultural adaptations while encouraging local farmers to incorporate some of the truly innovative herding practices developed by earlier generations into their current practices.
In Kenya, the Great Plains Foundation is building upon the success of its Student Conservation Camps in the Maasai Mara to expand its reach into areas and communities surrounding ol Donyo Lodge. The education program is being led by our incredible guides at ol Donyo and will reach communities and schools previously unserved.
The Great Plains Foundation is also proud to expand its solar lantern initiative into Kenya, bringing safe, sustainable light to rural households. Through a generous donation, the Great Plains Foundation will be distributing over 750 solar lanterns to families and communities who need them most throughout Kenya and Botswana.
Great Plains’ community conservation programs are made possible by the generosity of individuals, guests, and partners. It is your support and commitment to conservation that inspires us and helps ensure lasting conservation of Africa’s wild places.