Kalamazoo Christian High School has been sending students to experience conservation and cheetahs first hand, in Kenya, for a decade now, and this year's intrepid travelers made the trek earlier this month.

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During the trip, according to the organizing group, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya's Facebook page, the students "were lucky to see a cheetah in Meibae Conservancy. Many visitors and students have seen tracks & scat, but this group saw a cheetah that had unfortunately killed a lost goat - less than 200 meters from our camp. The issue of human-carnivore conflict is better understood by this group who witnessed it first hand and had the chance to talk about it with our local team."

Another posts says the Kalamazoo students worked with students from Lolokwe Secondary to plant a garden and some protective plants to discourage elephants. They were also able to participate in a a friendly football game and attended a local Church service. The hope is for the garden to feed the students, but there are challenges. The garden is in a drought and elephant conflict zone. One of the project during the trip is for the students and the local members to come up with solutions together.

As expected, these journeys are a mix of work, fun and education. ACK says the students spent time with ACK staff learning about patrols and life as a field officer each morning before going to the school. But at the same time, they hiked Nonkupuli Hill and had a good splash in the river.

(Photo: Mary Wykstra. Courtesy of ActionforCheetahs.org Used by permission)
(Photo: Mary Wykstra. Courtesy of ActionforCheetahs.org Used by permission)

The first group of students from Kalamazoo Christian made the trip to Kenya ten years ago. These groups are led by Steve and Randy Dyk, and this year 20 students learned about conservation and culture and to share their faith in Salama where ACK had a field base.

According the ACK, the 2018 trip was delayed due to a government coup, and then two years of cancellations due to the pandemic.

Through the years, the program encountered a delay due to a coup in 2018 and 2 years of cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

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