smallSix Primary Schools in Western Uganda which are seeking partnerships with schools in the UK.  All of these schools are in a mountainous area, close to one of the National Parks where mountain gorillas can be found.  They all have a strong commitment to the environment, and would like that shared commitment to be a significant element in any partnership.  Please let Ben Ballin [ ] know if you would like to be put in touch.  The schools are:

1. Kavumanga primary school is a government aided school with 365 pupils with 35 of them are in wildlife club.  They have a pocket forest that they are conserving and do indigenous trees planting, coffee planting, and medicinal gardens.  They also collect plastics in the community.

2. Rushaga primary is a community school close to Bwindi impenetrable national park.  It has 200 pupils with 50 in wildlife club.  The school works with the Bwindi clean up project and waste management.  They practice Agroforestry, kitchen gardening, indigenous trees planting, outdoors activities and organic farming.

3. St. Kizito primary school is a church school that has 400 pupil and a wildlife club.  Their motto is “Education through Conservation”.  They collect plastics and polythene, take part in the Rubuguri town council cleanup, and outdoor classes and vegetable gardening

4. Nombe primary school; has 640 pupils with 45 in wildlife club.  It plants indigenous trees, grows vegetables and has conservation awareness through dance and drama.

5. Nteko primary (375 pupils with 30 in the wildlife club) and [6] Sanuriro primary school (194 and 32 pupils) have similar projects of gardening, indigenous trees planting and outdoor activities.


Scientists at Sea Watch Foundation are looking for marine mammal enthusiasts around the country who want to support National Whale and Dolphin Watch, a citizen science project to collect records of whales, dolphins and porpoises and become involved in their marine conservation work.  The event this year is taking place from Saturday 27th July until Sunday 4th August 2019 and it marks the long-lasting collaboration between citizen scientists, wildlife enthusiasts, the general public and researchers alike.  You can find out more about the event here and register your own watch here.


The NWDW 2018 recorded more than 1,300 hours of watches with participants looking out for whales, dolphins and porpoises all around the country from Shetland to the Isles of Scilly and reporting around 8,000 individual animals of thirteen species from land and at sea. Last year the number of cetacean sightings recorded was 1,626 sightings which was the highest ever recorded, possibly due to the good stable weather recorded last summer, with high temperature which brought in warmer water species like striped dolphin, and created the conditions for plankton fronts to develop, attracting shoals of fish and in turn, whales and dolphins. The most memorable sightings recorded during the 2018 include humpback whales in Yorkshire and Aberdeenshire, striped dolphins live stranding in South Wales, Sowerby’s beaked whale in East Lothian, fin whales in Northeast Scotland and Outer Hebrides, and large pods of short-beaked common dolphins off Puffin Island and Menai Bridge in North Wales


The World Wide Fund for Nature WWF has launched Seek, an innovative app, as part of a collaboration with iNaturalist – the world’s largest online community for nature enthusiasts – and Netflix’s Our Planet. It’s designed to encourage young children to get out into nature, to explore their surroundings and to discover local biodiversity.  Designed to be as simple and straightforward to use as possible, the app encourages users to identify wild species by using a phone or tablet’s camera.  Live image recognition will distinguish the exact species of plant, flower, insect or animal by matching it to one of 30,000 species in the apps database.  The app draws from millions of wildlife observations and shows you which insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and other species you are most likely to find in your local area. It is hoped that this accessible technology will encourage young people to find out more about the biodiversity in their local communities.  There’s more detail here at Geographical.


An international jury of experts has chosen three young and talented nature conservationists as the winners of the Future For Nature Award 2019.   The three were: Fernanda Abra (Brazil), Olivier Nsengimana (Rwanda) and Divya Karnad (India).   

Abra successfully reduces traffic accidents between animals, such as maned wolves, cougars and ocelots, and vehicles in Brazil through preventive protection measures, data collection and analysis and special training for drivers and traffic officials.  Karnad, successfully reduced the unwanted by-catch of endangered sharks along India’s Coromandel coast.  Nsengimana protected crowned cranes in Rwanda by fighting illegal trade, facilitating reintroduction programmes and engaging the local population to understand the importance of the birds. 


Here is the challenge to universities thrown down by Jamie Agombar, the Head of Sustainability at NUS: Given we are in a climate emergency, UK universities should urgently:

1)  Set carbon reduction plans to be net zero by 2030, and deliver them;

2)  Ensure every one of their collective 2.3m students understands what they can do, through their discipline, to end the climate emergency and ecological crisis;

3)  Move their collective £3bn endowment investments out of listed equities into new renewables;

4)  Put their hundreds of thousands of acres of land holdings to use by planting a university forest network, the original carbon capture and storage. The Oxbridge colleges alone are said to have 126,000 acres of land

If not universities then who?  If not now, then when?


The circular economy is based on three principles: design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems.  You can explore the idea and real-world examples with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s immersive learning hub which has been launched.   You can explore these issues here.


An annual review of vulnerable species has highlighted the plight of primates in Africa, mushrooms in Britain and the critically endangered wild sweet pea in Italy.  IUCN also said that two families of rays — wedgefish and giant guitarfish — are at risk of being wiped out by overfishing.  The warnings came as the body issued an annual update of its red list, the largest database of global species.  In the UK, the waxcap, a bright red mushroom, was listed as vulnerable.  It is threatened by the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers and airborne nitrogen pollution.  Meanwhile, sweet pea, the flowering plant often grown in British gardens, is critically endangered in the wild and is in danger of disappearing from its native habitats in the south of Italy and Sicily.


The SEED Attitudes to Sustainability surveys are closing at the end of July.  There is one for Adults, one for Young People, and one for Primary School Children. They are anonymous, can be used as an audit for schools if you make sure you fill in what school you’re from, and take about 10 mins to do.


Invasion alert.  It’s a good year for painted lady butterflies, it seems.  So watch out for the migrants that nobody seems to object to.


Finally, here is a list of IUCN websites

IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme
IUCN World HeritageProgramme
IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas
IUCN Program on African Protected Areas and Conservation
BIOPAMA, FromKnowledge to Action for a Protected Planet
PANORAMA, Solutions for a Healthy Planet

and Facebook links:

Protected Areas
Program on African Protected Areas and Conservation
Protected Area Climate Change
Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas
Freshwater Protected Areas
Marine Protected Areas
PA and Conservation Learning News
Tourism and Protected Areas
Young Protected Area Leaders

And here’s where you can subscribe to IUCN’s various updates  the Protecting Planet Newsletter  –  other Commission Newsletters  –  the World Congress Newsletter  –  other IUCN Newsletters

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