Schools are back and already a number of lucky students started off the year with a visit to our animal orphanage.
The majority of Kenyan kids have no opportunity to see the wealth of wildlife their country has to offer. They may live in cities or remote rural areas. Most of them would normally have no access to the game rich areas. There are of course no Zoos and a trip to the game park is out of reach for most families.
Many years ago, Bill Holden and the Hunts started inviting area schools to visit the animal orphanage at their Mount Kenya Game Ranch. The children had a wonderful time. From there grew our educational programs. Later we founded the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in order to carry on the educational programs in earnest and in the memory of our friend and partner Bill Holden. Chaired by Stefanie Powers, the Foundation has grown into the premier wildlife educational facility for visiting Kenya students in the region.
The highlight of course remains a visit to the Conservancy and the Orphanage.
Here the kids get to “touch and feel” whatever species of indigenous wildlife are in our care at the time. The program has made a major impression on most of the part tacking students… so much so that some of them become involved in Conservation as they enter their professional lives.
One example is Peter Fundi, who still works as a Wildlife Manager at the Conservancy when he is not away at University working on his masters degree.
He has based his dissertation on the bongo rehabilitation program, in which he has been involved from the start. We can’t wait to see him graduate….
Meanwhile the Conservancy has also taken interns and helped facilitate their studies. Julia was one such enthusiastic volunteer that gave up some of her holidays to learn about wildlife at the Conservancy. We just received this letter from her Mom:
May I take this opportunity to update you on Julia. She has applied universities and already has received a few conditional offers, including from the university of her first choice – the Imperial College in London. She is very happy with these offers, and very motivated to study hard to obtain the points that are required for the Imperial College. In all applications, she has chosen the subjects related environmental conservation as planned. Her experience in Mount Kenya has been extremely precious in deciding her future path. The real exams are conducted in May, so she has quite an extended period of hard work. We are confident that she has a determination and commitment required to get through this important stage of her life.
(Signed: Tomoko Nishimoto)
To her and all you enthusiastic young people out there: we wish you all the best and don’t give up on your dream!