Every year in the first week of October, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) celebrates Wildlife Week with School Nature Clubs (SNCs). This year, our theme was “Why is the forest important to us?”

As it is our tradition, we invited representatives from our SNCs to a field trip to experience nature and learn more about the importance of forests and the protection of ecosystems. Girls and boys from 15 SNCs around the Western Area took part in our field excursion to Big Water community, near the Western Area Peninsula National Park. During the field trip on 5th October, 2022, the Biodiversity Officer at CSSL educated participants about wildlife conservation, followed by a role play that was facilitated by the organization’s Environmental Education Officer, about the importance of forests to plants, animals and humans.

Mrs. Augusta Kalone, a representative of the CSSL Board of Trustees said, she was overwhelmed with the presence of school children for such celebration, as she described them as the actors of change in the society, and ambassadors for nature as well as our future leaders. She talked on the importance of wildlife – plants and animals, and further explained the dangers of deforestation to plants, animals, and human beings. She encouraged all to do more awareness raising on conservation and protection of wildlife.

Furthermore, CSSL organized a radio discussion program involving school pupils and a teacher coordinator representative on 6th October 2022, where they shared their experience to the listening public. It was so pleasing to hear them explain to the public in their own ways and words about what they learnt with anxiety. The young ambassadors for nature and conservation also shared their experiences with their colleagues and friends in their respective schools. We all were very impressed when one of the pupils who was part of our radio discussion after the outing, advocated very strongly for nature conservation and explained to listeners important terms like extinction, biodiversity, and conservation, among others. We are proud of our young generation who are already starting to take leadership role in conservation and advocacy for climate change actions.

This year’s Wildlife Week was also celebrated with a drawing competition organised for all CSSL School Nature Clubs. In total, pupils from 26 schools nationwide participated in the competition. Thirteen of the drawings were featured on the CSSL calendar for 2023. But of course, all the artists drew their personal view of the forest and its importance to humans. We cannot really say which ones are the best, which is why we are happy to share with you all these wonderful drawings about nature through the eyes of the children. We really appreciate the efforts and the detailed work of these young artists.

As one of the artists explains very well, the forest is important because it gives us food, fresh air, medicines and potable water supply. Let us keep this in mind and join together to protect our forests for us and future generations.