WATERBERG-In celebrating the youth environment summit which coincided with the International Day for Biological Biodiversity on May 22, Youth Corner caught up with some Grade 11 learners from various schools as well as a final year Polytechnic of Namibia students who shared their experiences during a week-long field trip to the Waterberg Park.
The learners specifically looked at three components namely, bush encroachment, tourism and rangeland management around the park.
Sophia Nuuyuni, who is a Nature Conservation final year Polytechnic student, says celebrating the day for her means, “valuing what we have and without nature, we are nothing”. She is currently doing her research project in the botanical gardens, while on internship at Edu- ventures. She says her area of focus is species richness, diversity and abundance on small mammals in the botanical gardens. Nuuyuni says one needs to study “smart” as the field requires a lot of pass marks and not only 25 as a minimum requirement for tertiary entry, but above 30 points to be admitted. She singles out Highveld, bush, hairy footed, bushy-tailed hairy footed gerbils as well as the desert pygmy and South African pouched mouse as common natures.
Tusnelde Weyulu from the Okakarara Senior Secondary School says she learned a lot as they had to carry out research to find out the pros and cons around the Waterberg Park in different areas such as endangered species. She adds that they had to count the number of endangered species such as the buffaloes and white and black rhinos. “We also spoke to various tourists to find out about their experiences around the park. Some were not happy, in particular with the infrastructure. I want to become a Tour Guide one day because the experience at Waterberg taught me a lot,” she notes.
Cretchen Mutjavikua, also from the Okakarara Senior Secondary School did field work on bush encroachment. “For each area, we used a different transact, and we then got our results. We identified different species and did our grass cover. We also went for de-bushing exercise and there we saw some cheetahs,” she indicates.
Another student from the same school, Mujame Zaondja, says they conducted a survey on two farms around Waterberg. “We used different methods to conduct the survey, we did a transact method and we identified different grass species. I have learned a lot of different species and it is a great opportunity for me once I complete my Grade 12 to pursue Nature Conservation studies,” he indicates.
Elizabeth Amuulo from Hochland High School states that they had three topics, namely sustainable bush encroachment, tourism and rangeland management. Her focus was on the biodiversity of sustainable tourism. “We had three main objectives which one was to identify endangered and common species found in the park. Objective number two was to conduct interviews with tourists and staff about their experiences around the , and the third one was to conduct surveys on waste management. We asked the staff here how they manage their waste to keep the place clean. They said one of the problem is the baboons which normally scrap around the waste for food messing the place up,” she says.
Nghiyonanye Simon from A.Shipena Secondary School says he also learned a lot by interviewing staff regarding tourism, waste management and on the different species found around the park. He also learned the importance of small insects and mammals to the environment, which is to feed other animals and also reduces bush encroachment.
The learners were all given certificates by the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tommy Nambahu, as a token of appreciation for their week-long field trip around Waterberg.