Ice Cream and Ecology

CCF geneticist Silja Hogner and veterinary intern Neil Walton are excited to explore the new trail

CCF geneticist Silje Hogner and veterinary intern Neil Walton (our housemate!) are excited to explore the new trail

Last week, CCF celebrated the re-opening of the educational nature trail that I’ve been working on. Interns, volunteers and staff gathered after work at the newly improved trail entrance for an introduction to the trail and taste tests of the latest batch of goat milk ice cream that Jenna and her accomplice Hanlie have been cooking up in the new creamery. Then everyone had the opportunity to explore the trail and see all the changes that had been made.

Three flavors of CCF goat milk ice cream fresh from the creamery: chocolate coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter

Three flavors of CCF goat milk ice cream fresh from the creamery: chocolate coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter!

The Savanna Trail (formerly known as the Lightfoot Trail) winds its way through 1.4 km of thornbush savanna habitat near Lightfoot Camp, where rustic accommodations for interns, staff and visiting school groups are located. I worked for about one month with CCF volunteers Jeff Peereboom & Titus Shaanika to revamp the old trail. We cleared brush and leveled the trail surface, making it safe for visitors. New items were added to the trail, including: a rest area; a bird-viewing blind and bird bath; a cheetah “play tree” exhibit; and a collection of animal bones and carcasses.

Surveying the remains of a large male eland at the Carcass Area, with Chavoux, Deg and Gabriel

Surveying the remains of a large male eland at the Carcass Area, with Chavoux, Deg and Gabriel

A few days after the trail opening, students from Wakefield School in Virginia were the first visitors to try out the trail’s attractions. They used the new guidebooks to give themselves a self-guided tour of the ecology of the thornbush savanna. The students reported that they learned a lot: the names of common plants and their uses; the role of termites in the savanna ecosystem; what kind of animals might live in all those burrows; and much more. I hope that the trail will provide learning opportunities for many visitors in the years to come!

-Chris

CCF ecologist Chavoux Luyt with the new trail guidebook

CCF ecologist Chavoux Luyt with the new trail guidebook

The new bird-viewing blind

The new bird-viewing blind

Map of the trail

Map of the trail

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7 thoughts on “Ice Cream and Ecology

  1. Lonna Richmond

    what an accomplishment. sure wish i could pop over and check it out in person. love to you both and to all the cheetahs,lonna

    Reply
  2. daddy-o

    TOO COOL! you two make a difference in our world. it makes my heart sing in moonshadows
    see the awakenings you bring to others.

    Reply
  3. Kathryn Deery

    I love hearing about your adventures and the photos are gorgeous! The ice cream looks delicious as well 🙂

    Reply
  4. dee and steve

    Thank you both for keeping us all aware of what you are doing. That trail seems amazing and after working all day there’s goatsmilk ice cream in at least three flavors!!! I’ll bet it’s yummy. Love to you both,
    d and steve

    Reply

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