Friday, September 29, 2006

Bill Toone's appreciation for natural beauty in Kenya

Kenya: Nighttime at Teacher Camp
Posted at 8:41 am September 29, 2006 by Bill Toone

The nightly cacophony of sounds in the camp probably does not change that much each night, but as we learn more about what is making the noise, we get a clearer picture of the nightly goings on: hippo sounds as opposed to elephant sounds, frogs as opposed to birds or insects, zebras as opposed to impalas.

Tonight, a familiar sound filtered through the noise from either side of the camp: hyenas. Made me think of a similar trip with my wife in Tanzania. We were staying in a mobile tented camp and each evening a canvas of water was placed in front of our tent to wash our hands and face. Usually the canvas is dumped at bedtime but one night this did not happen. In the middle of the night we heard something lapping up the water; we went to the screen door of the tent and enjoyed a moment of face-to-face time with a hyena in the middle of the night.

Last night had been clear with a huge, beautiful full moon coming up in early evening. Even late in the evening it was almost like daylight. Tonight, when we stepped out to listen to the noises, there was no moon and the stars above us were as spectacular as I have ever seen them. Sitting almost on top of the equator, miles and miles from man-made lights, in a sky void of visible air pollution, the Milky Way stood out as nearly a solid swath of light. A remarkable place to sleep. I asked the camp manager if he would leave my tent up after we leave—I just might change my mind and come back!

San Diego Zoo Weblogs
Zoo Weblogs are written by contributors throughout the San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and CRES.

Bill Toone is a conservation program specialist for Conservation Education/CRES.

Bill helped implement a teacher training program in Kenya. In blogs, he shares his experience as he works with Dan Rubenstein, a Princeton University scientist, and Louise Bradshaw, the St. Louis Zoo’s education director, to inspire the next generation of Kenyans to work for wildlife conservation. Read Bill’s previous blog, Kenya: Elephant Encounter.


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