Rwandan wildlife: hamerkop

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta). Picture by Stanislav Harvančík ( Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta). Picture by Stanislav Harvančík (

We are back in the UK and I am still thinking of the wildlife we saw in Rwanda. I thought it would be interesting to post about species we have seen but we have no pictures of.

Here we have a hamerkop. We saw one in a rice paddy on our way to KCCEM. It seems less interesting than the crazy-looking great blue turaco, but even though its dullness there’s something I like about this bird.

Hamerkops feed on amphibians and small fish amongst other things; that’s why the rice paddy. One of the interesting facts about hamerkops is the size of their nests. Nests can be more than 1.5m across! Mmmmmmh, big enough for hosting a tea party?


Repotting success

We have had an amazing time over the last couple of weeks with our team from the UK, however I must say much quieter at KCCEM now. Work continues here and we recently checked on our repotted orchids which we changed to better more aerated compost as their roots were not looking healthy. As you can see by the picture below new healthy roots are growing which is really promising to see.




A wonderful last day with our friends and partners

Today was presentation time with four teams of girls from FAWE, three KCCEM students and the Writhlington student team all setting up tables to display their work to visitors and FAWE classes.

The science learning centre at FAWE full of interested students learning from the presenting teams. The science learning centre at FAWE full of interested students learning from the presenting teams.

The team from KCCEM, students Fred, Jean Luc and Tite, provided workshops on laboratory orchid propagation techniques, along with presentations on the realtionships between orchid conservation and their diploma courses in Wildlife Management, Forestry and Environmental Tourism. The three are outstanding teachers and all day there was a large group of FAWE girls engaged in their workshop.

Fred explaining orchid propagation Fred explaining orchid propagation

Each FAWE girl team presented their orchid research work from Nyungwe along with explaining practical science skills and learning developed. This included 3D printing, data logging, orchid hunt and orchid seed microscopy.

girls present 2

The Writhlington team helped the other groups prepare their presentations and then prepared their own presentation on the Writhlington Orchid Project along with mycorrhiza research.

Aaron presents the project to FAWE senior 1 students. Aaron presents the project to FAWE senior 1 students.

The day ended at 5pm with emotional goodbyes and warm thanks. The day showed the exceptional learning and project development that can take place when institutions and students work together. The students of Writhlington, FAWE and KCCEM have achieved extraordinary things together. Thank you to the students for their commitment and determination to overcome challenges, and to the staff of FAWE and KCCEM for making the project possible.