Rising Up – Coaching Conservation Kicks Off

By Shoniso Phakathi

After much anticipation and excitement from the local schools, The Investec funded Coaching Conservation (CC) programme kicked off on 17 May with Muchuchi Primary School. The coaches were in high spirits ready to deliver the lessons, and the children were colorful and sprightly in their rebranded apparel. The team however only managed to deliver one lesson as the COVID-19 protocols for schools’ contacts sports were once again adjusted on 20 May with contact sports being temporarily suspended. This programme has, like many activities involving large groups, been subject to delays since the pandemic hit in 2020.  The College’s team of coaches do however remain committed and eager to see this programme resumed before the end of the year.

Coaching Conservation first delivery Mchuchi Primary

In the drive of providing opportunities for cross learning and linking internal programmes, the Level 5 Natural Resource Management, Terrestrial students as part of their module in ‘facilitating conservation understanding’, had the opportunity of participating in the Coaching Conservation programme on World environment day. This provided them with an opportunity to learn about the programme as a potential tool for implementation in reaching the children living near their conservation areas.

Our CC head coach, Professor Mtungwa, started the session by providing an overview of the history and evolution of CC, he also outlined the purpose of the programme and the process in which a lesson for the children would be presented. The latter was demonstrated practically however adapting the message more for an adult audience.

Presentation of the programme through the animal guides followed the same ‘MEET’ ‘BE’ and ‘HELP’ phasing. In the ‘MEET’ phase, learners are introduced to the animal where they gain an understanding of what makes the animal unique and how we as humans can learn from or emulate some of the attributes attached to a particular animal, we also learn about the conservation challenge that it faces. Then comes the ‘BE’ phase, where learners learn from their coaches how to BE the animal on and off the field, in order to be become a learner who cares. Up until this point, the Level 5 student group were mainly concerned with the knowledge and content, however it was on the field where they came to understand that one is never too old for play. The adult learners exhibited the same engagement and energy as the younger learners when undertaking the football activities and drills set at improving skills on the field. The final component was the “HELP” phase, here learners discuss the actions that they can take in helping the particular animal. The Level 5 group, having taken part in the food web demonstration/simulation, were asked questions relating to this. In its entirety, this exchange was not only good for older bones, but educational on both sides for coaches and students alike.

Shelter, Water and Space exercise
Introducing the Elephant Lesson
Intentional Listening, to sounds around us!
The final spirit cheer (Respect yourself, Respect Each other, Respect your environment)

About Coaching Conservation

Coaching Conservation is a wildlife conservation initiative with its core mission to Inspire Kids to Care and to be more empathetic towards wildlife and the struggles they face.

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