PAAZA Junior Conservation Club : Lessons learned from 2021
While 2020 was teaching us adaptation towards a life without (too much) human contact, 2021 was a challenge of patience. When will we be free to move around without constraints ? Well, not anytime soon if the beginning of 2022 is anything to go by.
Following the few activities that were started in 2020, the PAAZA team decided to capitalize on the full-online concept with a new online platform for the children to interact. Apart from the online activities via webcams that were offered, the children also had the possibility to talk with one another and submit pictures, ideas and other content. The online activities were well received; however, it wasn't without flaws : the South African network is not the most stable and video chat was often cut short. As a result, this year's online activities will be offered differently : the videos will be created in advance and uploaded on the platform so that each family could download and go through them at their own pace without network issues.
Last year was the first launch of a little booklet filled with activities for the whole family : the PJCC Passport (see preview below). The idea was to have environmentally friendly activities available to the children without having to go online. Each activity is designed to teach a skill or an idea about ecology and is made to be drawn and colored on. At the end of the year, each family can submit their passport to the PAAZA team and get points out of the activities they completed. These points are then added to the points gained during the Best Spotter Competition.
On this note, 2021 saw the new edition of the Best Spotter Competition, with 5 new animals to look for, for a total of 35 critters ! Learning from 2020, the competition lasted a total of three months, more than enough time for each child to spot animals without losing interest. This year, a total of 186 critters were found and submitted, with a few interesting species to note.
The forum and WhatsApp group for the Best Spotter Competition also offers the opportunity to the children (and their parents !) to send pictures of strange animals they find around the house for identification. It is a fantastic way to teach children about the wildlife around them, but also a means to help animals in need. If a wounded animal is found, directions are given to help it and/or send it to the closest wildlife center.
Another addition to these activities was the 'enigma time' during the last ten days of the competition. At the end of the day, the children were given a little puzzle to solve or a wildlife related question to answer. Most questions were properly answered, and entire families started to solve the puzzles together ! It truly exceeded the response the team was expecting, and as a result, it will be offered again this year in a weekly format.
We, as the PAAZA team, would like to give our best thanks to all who participated in the 2021 edition of the PJCC, and we hope to offer an even better experience to 2022 PJCC children and their families.
A few outcomes from ONLINE ACTIVITIES
PJCC PASSPORT preview