|Below you will see winners of 2013 Kid for the Wild Scholarship. Juliana Oliff has gotten back to the committee with some follow up to her experience.
This is Juliana, the scholarship winner from last summer.
Thank you so much again for such a wonderful experience,
Juliana Oliff and Juliana Greene are the 2013 recipients of the Kid for the Wild Scholarship Each of these 2 have significant experiences in wild places and love of the natural world already.
Juliana Greene will participate in the Traveling School in Southwestern Africa. There she will participate in many service projects and encounter how people in very cultures are connected to the natural world for everything they need each day. She will see how their reality and ours depends on nature. She looks forward to see how all of the natural processes tie together with humans and their survival.
Updates from Juliana’s Program
Monday, September 9, 2013
Last week we visited a South African school called Southern Cross, whose educational philosophy is based on developing a deeper understanding of nature. We learned about their grey water system, and admired their thatched roofs which blended into the environment. The pinnacle of the morning was hearing from their board member, Yuri, who was one of the only white Afrikaner members of the African National Congress (Mandela’s party) under Apartheid. His stories of being labeled a terrorist by the government and jailed during that period held the students captive. After peppering Yuri with questions about South African history and how such a violent regime was able to come to power, we were taken to see two black rhinos before they were released into the wild. There are only 3,000 black rhino left in the world, and by the end of the day we would see three! The students learned about rhino poaching and spoke with the guards who slept in the bush every night protecting the few black rhino in the area. And this was all before lunch!
In the afternoon we went to Moholoholo, an animal reserve in Mpumalanga province where we learned about the endangered species of the region and experienced up-close encounters with them. Molly had a vulture land on her arm whose wingspan was wider than she is tall. Juliana and Eleanor touched the lips of a black rhino, and Megan rested her hand on the paw of a leopard just after Lindsay hand-fed it chunks of meat! We all stroked the back and graceful tail of a cheetah. We met a famous honey-badger named Houdini who is a master escape-artist. Peri, with camera in hand, captured it all.
The group spent 2 1/2 days on a game drive in Kruger and we saw almost every animal you can imagine, from a leopard crossing the road, to three prides of lion resting on rocks, to three cheetah hanging out after a kill. Science class occurred non-stop as the students gathered data about the animals and made notes in their field journals. We waited on our big blue truck as a herd of 100 Cape buffalo crossed in front of us.
Giraffe were on all sides, and elephants too. We saw hippo, crocodile, eagles, hyena, impala, and kudu. Some students have tasted biltong, the local jerky that is made out of springbok, kudu and impala.
Oct 21, 2013
Now we are outside of Pretoria which is the capital of South Africa. Today was a super intense day. It started out driving 1&1/2 hours to the Apartheid Museum just outside of Soweto. The museum was really interesting. After that we drove to the Soweto Kliptown township. Kliptown was where the freedom charter was made and both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu live on the same street. We went into the township with two men who lived there. At first I was very nervous because we were a big group of white American girls, clearly the minority. The youth leader of the organization we were visiting (Soweto Kliptown Youth) showed us through Kliptown. Before he lead us though he gave us a talk about pity and said not to pity them and how they don’t pity themselves and are happy to wake up every morning alive. There is a 6-foot wide dirt road that leads through the township. A small stream of water runs through it which is the drainage. The houses are a rectangular box made out of cardboard and slabs of thin aluminum. There is only one toilet and faucet for the whole township. The place we went was called SKY and kids went there to live if their home life situation was bad. We found out after that many of the kids who had been there were HIV positive and/or parents died of HIV. The danced for us which was really cool because at one point they used books and slapped them which their ancestors in Joburg (Johannesburg) used to do in the mines to talk to each other. After the dance the leader/founder talked to us. Her was a super good speaker and I wish I could have written everything he said down. He was all about being one people and very into women empowerment. They didn’t talk very much about what was wrong in their lives but at one point he said they (including the small children) hadn’t eaten in five days.
Juliana also spent a day visiting the Nelson Mandela Museum and learning about Mandela’s eight lessons of leadership. She has mountain climbed and her teacher says Juliana was terrified but once she got up the courage to climb she did all of the routes including climbing the hardest one twice. She surfed in Jeffries Day despite her huge fear of sharks. I keep telling her to stop watching Shark Week. Juliana didn’t see any sharks that day in the water but a few days later an open ocean swimmer was sadly killed there. Risk management is a huge part of this trip and we’re on the fence about whether the surfing in Jeffries Bay is worth the risk.
Juliana took her mid-term exams at a camp ground outside of Capetown in early October.
Juliana’s group made their way down to Capetown which is said to look a lot like San Francisco. For five days Juliana and a fellow Traveling School girl had a homestay with a family who are referred to as Cape Coloureds. Here’s a definition:
In Southern Africa Cape Coloureds is the name given to an ethnic group composed primarily of persons of mixed race. Although Cape Coloureds form a minority group within South Africa, they are the predominant population group in the Western Cape.
They are generally bilingual, though some speak only Afrikaans, and others primarily speak English.The family she stayed with consisted of a grandma, her son, his wife and their two little boys. The boys gave up their bedroom to Juliana and her friend. The family took the girls all over, to the beach, shopping malls, a Afrikaaners barbecue, to church, to a street fair and more.
The recent highlight of Juliana’s trip was seeing the very end of Africa — the Cape of Good Hope. She said it was beautiful with the ocean and mountains and low lying clouds. On the way there, the girls passed the filming of the Hobbit and Juliana was beyond excited. The girls got out and took pictures until a security guard chased them away.
This week Juliana got to pet cheetahs in a cheetah preserve.
Juliana Oliff will participate in a Touch the Sky program that will take place in Germany this summer. The philosophy of Touch the Sky is “to connect kids to geology, ecology, the outdoors and the culturalconnection to nature: Climbing is a focal activity and central to this education”. In Juliana’s connection to nature: Climbing is focaactivity and central to this education”. In Juliana’s words:
This summer, I am traveling with The Bozeman Climbing Team to Frankenjura, Germany to sport climb. Within the first week, we will have visited the densely packed crags of Mittelbergwand and Schlaraffenland in the south, Stadelhofener Wande in the central area and Ziegenfelder Wande to the north. During the second week there, we will be returning to project the routes we have chosen. We will be camping in a spot owned by the family Gastof Eichler, and we will be spending most of our time outside. I am hoping to not only gain a large amount of knowledge about the culture of this area, but to become very familiar with the rocks and the area surrounding the crags. I think this experience outdoors will not only widen my expertise with nature but help me become more in tune with it as well. I am also hoping to come in contact with, from what I have heard, some of most beautiful landscapes in Europe. The opportunity that I have been presented to go on this trip is not something that happens everyday and will be something that stays with me forever.