Back to school is certainly a hot topic at the moment, and my household is no exception. Alongside my own children starting a new school year this week, I’m delighted to share the news that through the Wildlife Blogger Crowd book, Connections With Nature, we’ve been able to support Talek Mixed Day & Boarding Primary School in Narok, Kenya, by donating to the school their first laptop!
You may remember that through Wildlife Blogger Crowd member Jack Lekishon, and with your generous support, I made a donation of multiple copies our book to their School Library (ASTRID Library) back in January last year, and through our in-person book talks involving various contributors to the Connections With Nature book, we were able to raise the funds to send out various supplies, educational materials and activity books to the school.
With community leader Jack on hand to speak to the school about their needs, it became evident that a further way that we could support the education of these young people growing up next to the Maasai Mara — and one which would be very in-line with the ‘connections’ ethos of the Wildlife Blogger Crowd — would be to help them to purchase a laptop for the school.
Happily, I was able to put the project forward for the Nature Storyteller of the Year category of the 2022 WeNaturalists Awards — and was delighted to win the award last September; which came with a $1,000 prize! You can read more about that here.
Working closely with Jack over the next few months, we were able to see the prize money sent to Kenya and assist the school in getting the equipment they felt most suitable.
Last month, the device was presented to the school, with the following message:
“Greetings from us! We love you so much, as people of Maasai Mara!
I’m pleased to update you that there was a big ceremony on 15th August 2023, very educative and our community was present including our school children and teachers of TALEK Primary School. Some neighbourhood schools children attended our events and it was amazing.
As you can see from the photos, during the ceremony, the school laptop was successfully launched and handed over to the school administration.”
“We’re very much grateful for all your kind consideration and support towards our local schools! On behalf of Talek school, our children and teachers and our community in general, let me say that we’re very grateful for your kind donation of the school laptop and books. I must thank you for being patient with us as the laptop took while on delivery and launching! I knew you’d love it at the end of it all though! The community witnessed the laptop gift from you and we extend our gratitude and appreciations to WeNaturalists for their kind consideration and support 🙏 We can’t forget to mention them and say thank you!”
A further update following the special community event noted:
“Greetings! Another update.: I’m pleased to let you know that the laptop gift donation project is launched and well received with many thanks! TALEK SCHOOL fraternity is very grateful and the laptop will enhance the office work efficiency both in the Principal’s office and his secretary department!”
“On behalf of the school and our entire Maasai community, I take this opportunity to sincerely thank you and appreciate your kind consideration and selfless support!” Jack.
I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Jack for facilitating our virtual community’s support of this school and their work to educate the children growing up alongside the Maasai Mara; those on the frontline of living with the challenges of sharing locality with the nature and wildlife that many of us seek to protect.
Thank you to Headteacher Mr Mayone, whose work we hope is helped by the use of this technology.
In other news… a few more updates on Connections With Nature over the last year:
I was joined by Barry Madden of WingSearch 2020 blog, and author of the Chapter: Juvenile Peregrines, to launch Connections With Nature and Barry’s own book ‘Naturally Connected’ (pictured above), into the giftshop at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT)’s Welney Wetland Centre.
A few weeks later, the signed copies of the book were spotted by our brilliant cover artist, Chloé Valerie Harmsworth, in Welney Wetlands’ shop.
Chloé previously helped to support the launch of Connections With Nature into in Books on the Hill bookshop in St Albans, where she spoke about then upcoming launch of her own book, The Secret Life of a Woodland Habitat: Life Through the Seasons. Book contributor and Photographer Steve Shand also joined us at the event, and has since had some of his amazing photography praised online by the likes of Chris Packham.
Earlier this year, the book also went on sale at the Norwich Science Festival’s bookhub, organised by The Bookhive and even found a place on the shelves of Waterstones’ Piccadilly store in London.
Exciting times indeed! Finally, more recently, I was delighted to catch up with Whitley Award winner Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Founder of Conservation Through Public Health — who I interviewed back in 2019 — and exchange a copy of Connections With Nature for Gladys’ incredible new book, ‘Walking with Gorillas’, a memoir detailing her journey to become Uganda’s first wildlife vet.
Dr Gladys launched Walking with Gorillas at the Uganda High Commission in London. It was lovely to share a copy of the Wildlife Blogger Crowd’s book with Gladys, and also pick up a copy of Ndhego (Gladys’ son’s) award-winning book, too.
More about Connections With Nature book…
- Announcing The Wildlife Blogger Crowd Book – Meet The Contributors
- Connections With Nature: 50 moments of meeting the wild – new book launched today
- Introducing Connections With Nature Book…
- 5 Exciting Connections With Nature Book Updates
- Connections With Nature books reach Talek School, Kenya
- Connections with Nature book praised by Chris Packham
- 5 new Connections with Nature book updates
- WeNaturalists’ Nature Storyteller of the Year Winner!