This report chiefly focuses on the benefits gained by schools attending this event. 850 pupils plus teachers and drivers representing over 50 schools attended the event which had an impressive turnout. Many were treated to a light lunch provided by UNICEF.

Events that had educational benefits for schools
A group of pupils (mostly senior) went
on a walk in the grasslands – pity it was
not a fully blown urban grassy wetland.
Simon Pitt, the Chairman of Mukuvisi
Woodlands led the 12 junior and senior
schools groups, who were given an inspiring
wetland talk, interspersed with questions
from Jimmy Muropa (JM), the Monavale
Vlei Scout. Later on, Professor Chris
Magadza gave a talk on wetlands.
EMA gave out their pamphlets to each
school and they were eagerly grabbed.
A quiz competition of mainly live animals
was arranged by Mrs D Wakeling (DW)
and JM (COSMO), Ms J Pierini (JP) and
Mrs L Maasdorp (LM) from BLZ, Rifa and
Zambezi Society)

This activity was designed to show off a few animals that live hidden away in the lovely grassland of Monavale Vlei and to gauge the pupils’ knowledge of them. (A wetland such as this has astonishingly rich biodiversity). 500 pupils participated (the number of questionnaires all we could afford to print) Small prizes were awarded, JM and Ronnie Chirimuta, Marlborough Vlei Scout, vetted the answers and students on attachment from the City of Harare, helped as well.  LM and DW went through all the answers. High schools as to be expected produced the better answers. Many Primary pupils found it difficult but were interested – remarks “This snail is moving, but how can it, with no legs?”

 

The five exhibits were:
Snails: (live) collected by JM and LM
Crab, Freshwater: (live) collected with difficulty by JM
Frogs: (live) collected with some difficulty by JM
Heron, Black-headed: mounted at the Museum and collected by DW and returned by JP
Marsh Owl:  (live) collected by JP from Kuimba Shiri. This bird was kindly loaned for the occasion
Bushpig: (no specimen) a question on this animal was included.
Each competitor had a brief viewing of these animals. There was some collaboration within schools, as to be expected.

Lessons learnt by the organizers
> Each animal display should have more space and be duplicated to give scholars a better chance of seeing them when so many pupils are involved.
> Time should be allocated at the end to give students a brief description of the exhibits.
> In the future enough question papers should be printed
> 8 live exhibits would provide more of a challenge not only for pupils but also for teachers, who learn so much from this exposure
> The curricula had recently had many more topics included but nothing extra on Nature, for the already overloaded primary school teachers. Our very future on the planet depends on us working closely with the natural environment, hence contact with Nature on the Wetlands Day is very important for stimulating interest in Nature for children. On a previous Wetland Day, there was a live snake exhibition where two pupils remarked, ‘I touched a live snake”. This vibrant atmosphere at the Woodlands was  visible this year as well with the crowd enjoying themselves.

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