Welcome to the Forest Flyer, a quarterly news update from the United States Forest Service International Programs Africa & Middle East Team. To view previous issues of this newsletter, please click here. For more information about our programs, contact Kathleen Sheridan, Assistant Director, at kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov.
SUMMER 2022
In This Issue
Reducing Human-Elephant Conflict Through Education and Outreach
Botswana

How Can You Provoke the Interest of a 10 Year Old? Share Information on a Panel the Shape and Size of an Elephant
Malawi

Enhancing an Educational and Interpretation Program to Fuel Conservation
Tanzania
REDUCING HUMAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICT THROUGH EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
Above, an elephant safety excerpt from an Ecoexist field guide. The field guide provides ideas and tips for how to coexist safely with elephants. Credit: Ecoexist
The Okavango Delta, in northern Botswana, contains a fascinating ecosystem of interdependent animals, people and plants with overlapping habitats and needs. In an area of 20,000km2 , there is one elephant for every two people. That’s 20,000 elephants and 39,000 people sharing the same space and often competing for resources. An NGO called Ecoexist has made it its mission to help people and elephants coexist and thrive in this incredible landscape.
 
Ecoexist supports elephant corridors, “elephant aware” demonstration farmers, elephant monitoring and education, outreach and conflict prevention.

U.S. Forest Service International Programs recently helped Ecoexist complete the first of three modules of curriculum designed to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The curriculum includes lesson plans and supporting material that community officers can deliver to primary school age children. All modules take a holistic approach to reducing human-wildlife conflict and emphasize the following concepts:
 
  • The global uniqueness of an inland delta in the middle of a desert
  • Wildlife habitat and the intersection of wildlife and human needs—food, water, shelter, and space.
  • Information about elephant traits and behavior
  • Elephant safety practices and how to reduce conflict

Learn more about Ecoexist and their mission to reduce conflict and foster coexistence between elephants and people here.
HOW CAN YOU PROVOKE THE INTEREST OF A 10 YEAR OLD? SHARE INFORMATION ON A PANEL THE SHAPE AND SIZE OF AN ELEPHANT
Twenty-eight interpretive panels recently arrived to Malawi’s oldest and largest reserve, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Nkhotakota maintains an educational center that welcomes thousands of students and adults from local communities to learn about the biodiversity that surrounds them. Thanks to the interpretive panels, the learning experience has just become more engaging.
 
Interpretive panels engage visitors with thought-provoking questions, fascinating wildlife facts and images that help park visitors make connections between ideas and reality. They support knowledge acquisition and can provoke change in behavior, such as deciding to protect the natural environment.
 
The recently arrived batch of panels include information on park rules and regulations for safely watching wildlife, a visual on where translocated animals were reintroduced to the reserve, and welcome and farewell panels at entry stations.
 
The U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development are partnering with African Parks at Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to restore critical habitat, enhance tourism potential, and improve local livelihoods in border communities. The newly arrived interpretive panels are one aspect of their work.
Tadala M'banga, the Nkhotakota Extension and Education Assistant for African Parks, leads a local church group on a tour through the park's new environmental educational center. The education center contributes to the curriculum of local schools. Children learn about the history of the park and about natural resources and animal behavior.
ENHANCING AN EDUCATIONAL AND INTERPRETATION PROGRAM TO FUEL CONSERVATION
In the Indian Ocean, a few kilometers from Zanzibar, Tanzania, lies Chumbe Island Coral Park, a privately owned nature reserve devoted to conservation. The island harbors a fully protected coral reef sanctuary, phenomenal plant life and a coral-rag forest reserve that hosts critically endangered Aders duiker antelopes and nearly 80 species of birds. The Park operates an ecotourism lodge to fund its conservation initiatives and its environmental education program.
 
U.S. Forest Service International Programs recently supported Chumbe Park to create an Interpretation and Education Plan that clearly defines interpretation and education themes and storylines for the island. The plan identifies its educational audience, inventories current assets and identifies material needs. The Forest Service also helped Chumbe Park create Design Guidelines to inform the creation and installation of new, engaging education materials throughout the park.
 
Environmental education has been a primary objective of Chumbe Park since its inception. The new plan and guidelines support the following Chumbe Park programs:
 
  • Environmental Education Schools Program
  • Teacher Training
  • University / College Educational Support
  • Fisher & Community-based Outreach, Communication & Education
  • Stakeholder Outreach & Awareness Raising
 
All of Chumbe Park's educational programs promote wider environmental awareness for sustainable development and ecological stewardship in Zanzibar.

Visit chumbeisland.com to learn more about its ecotourism, conservation and education model.
The new Interpretation and Education Plan defines four educational themes and six land and forest topics. The education team develops these themes and topics into storylines to engage visitors.
The new guidelines support the design, development, production and installation of engaging educational material on Chumbe Island.
Chumbe Island Coral Park's new Interpretation and Education Plan and Design Guidelines