Ulovane Update: January 2018 Field Guides Week 7
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
Week 7 was a busy but fun week. It was our last week of theory and workbooks. We covered the last few chapters of Mammals, Animal Behaviour, Conservation Management and Historical Human Habitation.
In Mammals we learned all about their characteristics, sub classes, foot structures, what they eat and how they digest their food. Also their physical characteristics and social and feeding habits. Their habitats and distribution. Differentiation between males and females and the identification of the different animal species. We discussed our flagship species in SA which includes the Big 5 and various other species. We learned which species are rare and which species are endangered. We learned the basics of the different foot structures and signs.
In Animal behaviour we covered the different animal groupings and behaviour, how they communicate, their protective behaviour, how they claim territories. The various ecological associations between birds, insects, reptiles and mammals and how to identify prominent alarm calls of these animals.
Historical Human Habitation was a very interesting subject, we had to learn about the history and evolution of humans in Southern Africa. We started from the Early Stone Age and went through all the way to the Iron Age. We discussed the different tools and weapon structures they used in each of these ages. It was interesting to see how the evolved from using simple rocks as tools and then crafting and polishing bones and ivory for knives and fishhook and then used fire melting and forging of tools and weapons using copper, gold, tin and other metals in the Iron Age.
With Conservation Management we discussed the various ways of the managing the conservation of our natural environment and the impact humans have on it. We learned about the various ways we can use to help the environment and how to minimize the impact we have on it. This subject was probably one of the most important subjects we had in this course because without the conservation of our natural environment we won’t have any place to do Field Guiding in and without it we will eventually have no natural environment left for future generations and our passion and love for the natural environment will eventually die.
Now to move on with the more practical things of the week. We had a couple of game drives like any other week learning new things on each and every drive and working on our driving and guiding skills for our upcoming assessments. Amakhala Game reserve once again dazzled us with her beauty and splendour!
For our hosting evening we went with a Hawaiian theme. Wednesday was a very long, busy but extremely fun day. We hosted lodge managers and owners from Amakhala to an exceptional evening! We started early in the day preparing everything for the evening, it was a rat race in the kitchen, people just all over the place preparing meat and veggies for the stir fry, kebabs for the starters, mixing of Pina Colada welcome drinks and dom pedro’s for dessert. People busy setting up decorations and setting of the table. We had people washing up all the dishes as they piled up constantly. It was a great team effort where every single one of us played a vital role, everyone gave their best to contribute to this evening that turned out to be a HUGE success. We are proud of each and every student and the teamwork they delivered. We would like to say thank you to each and every student and their contribution towards this amazing evening. Thank you to our guests for joining us!
Thursday we had a Track & Signs Practical, it was a very interesting day. We all had fun with looking at the track trying to figure out what animal it could possibly be, some of the signs left by animals was pretty hard and some of us had a hard time figuring out what animal could have caused the signs left behind. An example of this was mud next to the water with tiny little speckled like holes in it… the culprit responsible for this was a pottery wasp collecting mud to build its nest. Was a great experience and we learned a lot of new tracks and signs we have never seen before.
We finished of this week with the graduation evening of the Trails Guides, they all achieved tremendous success! We all joined them with their celebration which was an evening full of fun, laughter, dancing and good memories to be remembered by everyone.
From all of us we would like to congratulate all of you for your achievements and for those of you leaving us, you will be missed.
- Jaco and JJ. K
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” – Henry David Thoreau