Scientists learn how to ‘juice up’ their research for JournalistsScientists are weird and journalists only want the juicy stuff. These are some of the myths that Marina Joubert of Southern Science aimed to banish at a media training workshop for the Kruger National Park's scientific services, held over two days in Skukuza. Day one was devoted to understanding the relationship between scientists and the media and how to 'sell' science to both the print and electronic media.
It was also a good opportunity for the group to prepare for the following day’s live radio broadcast session from Nelspruit, on the Afrikaans service "Radio Sonder Grense" early morning actuality show, "Praat Saam" with Freek Robinson, where two Kruger scientists and media spokesperson Raymond Travers were featured as guests.
Questions about speeding and litter in the park 'hijacked' the show from its intended science focus, llustrating the need to improve the public perception of science in the Park, but also highlighting public worries. After a debriefing session about the radio programme on Tuesday, the group also had the opportunity for mock interviews filmed by Sanhu’s Jacques Goosen and conducted and reviewed by Freek.
IUCN Council to meet in KrugerThe governing body of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the IUCN Council, will be meeting for the first time in its 60 year history outside of Switzerland. The stand-alone meeting is scheduled away from its headquarters from 19 to 21 September to take place in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, and specifically, at the Mopani Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park.According to the IUCN website, the organisers describes it as 'an ambitious exercise.' With their visit to South Africa Kruger the IUCN will seek to: 'Increase understanding of environmental management in a southern context – its potential and challenges; 'Provide the opportunity to learn about the leadership of Southern Africa in the areas of biodiversity management, poverty alleviation and other sustainable development practices; 'Facilitate constructive dialogue with local managers, communities and leaders; and 'Bring Council members to the hard face of pertinent issues in a world-renowned conservation area such as biodiversity management, cross-border conservation and others.'Valli Moosa, president of the IUCN, said: "The spectacular setting of the Kruger area should, however, not detract from the importance of the business we will be conducting as custodians of the global environment. The 68th meeting of Council will have to consider a wide range of important issues pertinent to the Union at this time.
To highlight only a few, preparations for the World Conservation Congress 2008 – the premier summit on sustainable development in 2008 (less than a year away when we meet), the new draft inter-sessional programme and draft financial plan for 2009 – 2012, the approval of a Code of Conduct for Council Members and the report on the membership Satisfaction Survey are on the agenda.
"Conducting a Council meeting in an environment not purpose built for conferencing also has its particular challenges. Although extremely enriching, infrastructure and logistical implications that even in Gland require many hours of careful preparation and execution will require cooperation and understanding from everyone present at the meeting in Kruger. Due to financial and other considerations, IUCN will only provide a lean contingent of operational staff."