As the rhinos travel around the world it is always very uplifting for me to see and hear what they have been getting up to on their travels, and that is why I appreciate it when teachers (or students) blog about their experiences with the visiting rhinos. Here is a blog post by Pru Thomas, year 6 teacher at Roseville College Junior school in New South Wales, where Lesedi has just been visiting:
We feel very privileged to have enjoyed a visit from a rhinoceros over the past few weeks. Lesedi is one of 5 rhinos from Cape Town in South Africa who are travelling the world to inform children everywhere about the plight of the world’s rhinos.
We learned that there are 5 types of rhino and they are all in danger of extinction.They are hunted and killed for their horns. Rhino horn is made of keratin just like our fingernails but many people believe it can be used to cure all sorts of medical problems. This is not true. So rhinos are killed for nothing.
Lesedi has already travelled almost 22 000 km from her home to visit us in Sydney. You can read lots more about her at http://saveourrhinos.wikispaces.com/The+Travelling+Rhinos
- You can read the original post on the Year 6RC blog here: http://goo.gl/QqiQ0w .
Thank you to the Pru Thomas and the Year 6 students at Roseville College for taking such good care of Lesedi and for spreading the awareness of rhino poaching!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a photograph of 5 rhinos taken in the Kruger National Park, the inspiration for my Travelling Rhinos Project, would spark off such interest and enthusiasm amongst the classes that have signed up!
What started off as an ambitious idea has grown into something so much more than just a project. It has sparked conversation, debate, inquiry and creativity.
The Twitter feed is constant, with daily feedback and photo sharing, and the Facebook page is a hive of activity with the number of ‘Likes’ growing at a steady pace. With 35 classes from around the globe already signed up, and more inquiries coming in, I can see this project running for more than just the year I had originally planned.
I’ve become a Skype expert overnight, having had Skype calls every week for the past four weeks! I’ve had the pleasure of doing two Mystery Skype calls – one with a Grade 7 class in Bridgenorth, Ontario, Canada (they took only 9 minutes to pinpoint my location) and another with a Grade 4/5 class in Guelph, Ontario, Canada (they took 11 minutes to pinpoint my location). I have also been interviewed by the Grade 5 Denton Dynamos in New York, and just last night I had a lovely chat with Grade 5 class in Surrey, BC, Canada. I’ve learnt that I have to have my answers ready – the children have good questions and they require informed answers!
The quality of the contributions by the different classes is simply astounding. They have created art works, videos, presentations, written letters to their local newspapers, designed t-shirts and more. The reaction to this project has been nothing less than astounding! I cannot wait to see what else the other classes come up with!
It’s a new year with so many new possibilities!
In November last year I launched a new Global Classroom Project at school and it went national and global on 7 December.
Inspired by this photo that I took of five rhinos drinking in unison at a waterhole in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, in July, I had five small rhino soft toys made out of genuine African fabric (one side shweshwe and the other an African print). Each rhino was given a truly African name (through a competition amongst our students). These rhinos are on their way to classrooms far and wide – one to South African Schools and then into Africa, one to Australia and New Zealand, one to Canada and America, one to America and South America and one to Europe and Asia. Through global connections I have made in the Global Classroom Project and via Twitter, I have sourced schools to send the rhinos to and currently have 33 classes signed up for the project which will run until December this year, or longer. (It is similar to a Flat Stanley project, but this time with Travelling Rhinos).
Each class will host the rhinos for a week or two and in that time the teacher is asked to educate the students about the rhino situation (in the world, but especially SA), they are asked to dispel the myth that rhino horn is medicine and then they are asked to get their children to contribute to a class page in a wiki that I have created (I have put together information they can use and provided websites for more information). They can write letters of appeal/make videos/do art work – anything which gives the children a voice in the fight against rhino poaching. They are then asked to send the rhino on to another class in their country. Of course they must also document the visit with photos and we will track each rhino’s journey on a Google map. The rhinos will travel for the whole year (or more).
The motivation behind my project is to educate and to use the children’s voices to highlight the gravity of the problem to other countries. After all, it is their children and grandchildren etc. that we want to save the rhinos for, and we rely heavily on tourism in South Africa, so I believe we can make a difference in this way.
Ultimately, once we have many classes participating and contributing, I would like to bring the project to the attention of the powers that be in government. I’m not sure how or who yet, but I have time to work that out!
To find out more about this project visit the wiki: http://saveourrhinos.wikispaces.com
Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheTravellingRhinosProject
Follow us on Twitter: @travellingrhino