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.
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.
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!