Forget animals. Field guiding’s about people too.
BY: Geena Wegner
Camp manager blogs are written by our current students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week. Geena was part of our January class and led the group earlier in the year.
“Who is doing this course because they love animals?”
This was one of the first questions that the students were asked on the Bushwise field guide course at the beginning of the year. Understandably, several people put their hands up. “The field guide industry is more about people than it is about animals,” said the trainer.
Initially, this came as a bit of a shock. The biodiversity of the Bushveld was one of my main deciding factors when I opted to pursue field guiding. But, over the course of the last six months, I came to understand the importance of this statement.
People are creative. Oisin attempted to make marula beer using the fruits of the marula tree. Johan carved an incredible walking stick out of tamboti tree wood. And Jack taught us how to weave coasters using wild date palm leaves.
People are passionate. Jared is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to reptiles. Brendan has become the biggest birder on campus. Danny is an amazing photographer and Sarah absolutely adores butterflies.
People are caring. “Can I make you a cup of coffee?” “Remember your jacket for the morning drive!” “What did you see during your bush walk this afternoon?” “Good luck with the test!” “Who wants the last muffin?”
People are excitable. Foulsham is always on the lookout for the Burchell’s coucal. Erin loves seeing elephants. Lindi starts dancing when someone passes their Advanced Rifle Handling exam. Taya’s face lights up when she hears a familiar bird call.
People are adventure-seeking. Our days are filled with game drives where we look at birds, bush walks where we search for buffalo herds, study sessions where we learn about insects, coffee breaks on the deck where we take in our surroundings and staying up late to build up our friendships.
“The field guide industry is more about people than it is about animals.”
Although this statement was aimed more at the guest aspect of field guiding, my trainers and fellow students have taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined.
The biodiversity we experience daily is an undeniable privilege, but it’s the people that make it worthwhile.
Click here to meet some of the incredible people you’ll meet on base.