The Laikipian landscape protects wildlife because people build land-use models that are multi-dimensional. They include ranching, tourism, real-estate, farming, forestry, horticulture, water and energy management. This makes Laikipia the most ideal place to learn how all these pieces fi t together and accommodate wildlife! Wild Class is all about supporting business models implemented by Conservation Education (CE) destinations that have chosen CE as a wise land use. Its about celebrating the fact that conservation really is cool in Laikipia because in this county, wildlife conservation is the result of people either intentionally managing land for wildlife, or people tolerating wildlife, because the benefi ts outweigh the challenges.
CE is another form of land use for Laikipia. Like so many of the other creative ways to use land and conserve wildlife, CE is another tool that enhances the value of the land. By presenting it as conservation education “tourism”, Wild Class has found another way to bring value to the land, wildlife and the people who live in Laikipia. Currently, Wild Class has 10 destinations namely: Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Mpala Research Centre, Ol Jogi Conservancy, Loisaba Conservancy, Mt. Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, Mt. Kenya Trust, Ol Lentille Conservancy, Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Segera Conservancy and Lewa Conservancy, who each play a leading role in mega-fauna conservation, cultural conservation and conservation of really important endangered species such as rhino, elephant, cheetah, Grevy’s zebras and wild dogs. Wild Class will soon be launching 10 promotional video clips celebrating these conservation education destinations that have joined forces to market Laikipia as a conservation education destination and learning environment for school students from a radius of 200-250 km of Laikipia. Another market segment will target tertiary education institutions at home and abroad.
“Each one of these Conservation Education destinations also has something unique in its off ering and off ers visiting school groups structured learning in safe environments and an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Wild Class is also about Kenyan school kids supporting Kenyan school kids! Imagine a system where for every shilling spent on a Wild Class organised excursion, 50% of the revenue goes into supporting local learning opportunities. And so as each CE destination develops their CE off ering as an enterprise – an
income-generating platform for conservancies where profi ts drive conservation education and learning for local Laikpians, so is this Laikipian dream realised.
LWF, together with its membership, is emerging as a Conservation Education enterprise leader and “incubator”, providing each destination with advisory services on developing their conservancies as a Wild Class destination, and helping them to develop and plan and secure fi nancing to serve this model. LWF joins business skills with leading conservation education programming, experiential learning, and green facilities design and operations – showing how sustainable living and wildlife conservation can be combined. In addition to being a conservation education incubator, LWF will also serve as a clearinghouse for interested schools. Need a tailored curriculum based on a Wild Class off ering? We can help! Need us to help make bookings? We can help! Need a concerted marketing and promotion campaign?
Well, each of the Wild Class CE destinations is a living “Wild Class-room” accommodating a set of learning that is unique to that destination. Much like lodges are developed to host tourists, each one seeking to be more unique than the other, Wild Class destinations will host learning in creative and novel ways, meeting the demand of Kenyan schools to complement curricula with hands-on learning. This model is designed to be self-sustaining and presents an opportunity to look at conservation education as a
legitimate enterprise where experiential learning is paramount, and where profi ts immediately and directly benefi t others in the great Laikipia landscape.
Stay tuned for more updates on WILD CLASS on line at www. laikipia.org, with a new Wild Class website coming soon!
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