"Engaging young people in conservation and nature through photography"
Wild Shots Outreach's aim is to engage young people from disadvantaged communities in wildlife and wild places through photography. The programme prioritises high school students from government schools bordering Kruger. It teaches new skills, providing a “focus” and introduction to the natural world and helps inspire and raise the aspirations of these learners – the conservationists of tomorrow.
The catalyst for founding the programme was twofold:
Our struggle over the past several years to find a South African photographer of colour to speak at the Wild Shots wildlife photography conference
Realising that the majority of high school students bordering Kruger have never visited a wilderness area before - or seen wildlife at first-hand.
Wild Shots Outreach was founded in November 2015. The project addresses the need for more young people from local communities to experience the wildlife and wild places they previously had little or no access to. It is hoped that the battle for conservation can be won by sharing the beauty and value of South Africa's wildlife with all its citizens. Wild Shots Outreach gained NPO (Not-for-Profit status) in June 2017 and won the SANParks' Kudu Award for best environmental education programme.
· To engage and inspire young South Africans in the environment and nature conservation through photography;
· To nurture an appreciation of wildlife, its importance, beauty and conservation value;
· To develop self-confidence, self-esteem and life skills in course participants;
· To promote creativity and artistic skills in young citizens;
· To broaden and deepen knowledge and understanding of the environment and conservation.
Each course consists of 5 workshop sessions culminating in a game drive in a game reserve. These can be delivered in school in separate sessions or complete in a residential weekend. We prioritise students aged 15 to 17, working with groups of eight at a time (the number of seats in a game viewer), and use donated DLSR cameras. The course is run over a number of days in the school or as a residential weekend in a game reserve. Each workshop is followed by a discussion session for the students to review their work, and the course concludes with a feedback form. Students are presented with certificates and prints of their photographs. Each school receives a camera so that the students can continue to use their new skills.