Storytelling with Watercolor

Alice Colson grew up in the western part of France, the Loire Valley. As a child growing up in an art-loving family, she always enjoyed drawing and painting. She tried different styles of arts, like animation, ceramics and music, to discover which one of them will be better for her.  As a teenager she also took cello lessons and prepare all the big “exams” to get admitted in the Beaux-Arts (arts school). Even though she got selected to study arts, she leaned towards a public administration and political science school in Bordeaux. 

Alice Colson – TOSCO Team member

In 2019 destiny brought her to Namibia and she felt reconnected with nature and wildlife. She really enjoys the country and all the beautiful landscapes that the country has to offer.

“There are some many different landscapes, from the north to the south it varies at lot” . 

Alice

Nowadays she is developing an activity as an illustrator in parallel of her main job which is related to water resources protection and management, climate change and conservation. All this experience gives her extra motivation at the moment to work on her illustrations. 

Why using watercolors?

I like it because it very nomad. It’s very light and it fits anywhere, which allows you to take it with you wherever you go. You just need paper, water and the watercolors. I also like the contact between the water and the colors. I love finding the balance between both of them. Too much water is not good for the drawing but too little is not good either.

I’m a fast painter; I don’t see myself doing oils paintings for example… It takes several weeks to finish one piece. You have to paint, and then wait for it to dry to continue. I’m a bit impatience myself, I think.  

I also wish to tell some stories or sending messages with my paintings. So, I believe it’s easier to transmit strong messages about sensitive topics with watercolors. 

What styles are reflected in your art?

One of my styles is a quite naïve way of drawing. Clear lines, very simple faces with very clear faces expressions. I have 3 identities: the first one more classic comic stretch, the second one is more children oriented, a naïve one, and the third one is landscapes and nature, (that are in my surroundings). I feed my art with these 3 identities. 

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Plant trees, teach kids, light up, share skills

TOSCO (Tourism Supporting Conservation) is an initiative started by Felix Vállat in 2012.

We have a responsibility to ensure that Namibia’s wilderness areas remain pristine and the people who look after it and live with wildlife are able to maintain a respectable lifestyle. Tourism can support or destroy. TOSCO believes that its impact can be signif icant when it is used as a tool for sustainable development. 

Having his own ecotourism company, he realised that the tourism sector has a responsibility to safeguard the natural resources it depends on and thereby ensure that Namibia’s wilderness remains as enjoyable in the future as it is now. Tourism is amongst the fastest growing industries worldwide and travelling to natural areas can be harmful. TOSCO has now become an established organisation that offers a platform for tour operators who want to commit to responsible tourism. With funds from their memberships, a team of dedicated volunteers and interns runs a variety of programs which focus on sponsoring research, supporting people living with wildlife, raising public awareness and travelling cleaner. To ensure programs run successfully, TOSCO works with a variety of partners in the field, including Desert Elephant Conservation, Save the Rhino Trust and Desert Lion Conservation, as well as strategic partners including NACSO, WWF and IRDNC. Vice versa, partners increasingly approach TOSCO when they need tourism expertise.

2020 has exciting developments in store for TOSCO. Here is a sneak peek of what we will be working on.

LIVING WITH WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Forced by drought, elephants and lions are attracted to settlements in search of water and livestock respectively, causing human-wildlife conflicts in areas where humans and animals co-exist. The Living with Wildlife program’s main focus is on preserving wildlife by supporting rural people that bear the cost of living with wildlife. Support is given in the form of incentives to look after the wildlife.

TOSCO will be leading the Lightforce project in partnership with IRDNC and a French NGO, equipping 20 kraals and 100 houses in north-western Namibia with solar lights. The lights will help farmers keep their livestock secure and deter predators, whilst also keeping elephants away from villages and their crops. Local people will be trained so that in future they are able to maintain the lights themselves.

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Mount View school goes on a city tour

Mountain View Secondary School recently won the 3rd prize in a national before/after clean up challenge aimed at involving and encouraging schools to partake in the national clean up challenge.   Part of the winning package included a city tour to celebrate cultural heritage. 

Namibia is a land with a lot of cultural heritage and its center is Windhoek which holds the heart to most of the historic events information and monuments. The tour gave learners a chance to witness the culture heritage and understand the city’s historical background was great idea, this gives them pride in their country and an understanding on the role they can play to keep the the city clean as this will help to preserve the historic heritage.

City Tour Points

Heroes’ Acre  

The trip started off at the Heroes Acre which is an official war memorial of the Republic of Namibia. The tour guide gave the learners a brief history about how it came to be and why it is important.  Shared a brief knowledge on where the departed Namibian heroes and heroines are honored and remembered.  The learners of Mount View high showed high interest and engaged a lot with the tour guides.  The guides that facilitated this tour on this juncture were Timoteus Nuugulu and Sakeus Kadhikwa

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The game guards

Someone needs to take care of the wildlife on communal land; this includes the monitoring, patrolling of wildlife and other resources and making sure the anti- poaching rule is being obeyed. The people who do this are normally referred as the community game guards or the shepherds of the community.

They also take on other duties like joint ventures with environment and tourist officials. Game guards should also have knowledge on how to maintain the event book; the event book is a field based monitoring system used in all communal conservancies of Namibia 

Game guards should have good knowledge on the conservancy they are in and know the animals in that are in the area. They have extensive knowledge on the laws on rules in their conservancy and make sure that people abide by them.   

Game guards have good relationships with the people with and outside the community because the serve as middle man as they can help advice farmers on how to reduce human- wildlife conflict. 

The work game guards do is important, for children to have knowledge on what the work game guards do is vital this way they will be able to see wildlife in the future on communal land and know how to live with wildlife.

Communicate like a ranger

On patrol you might encounter dangerous animals and it is important to know what to do.

When on patrol it’s good for rangers to know all safety and communication methods when coming across another dangerous wild animals the first thing you have to do is make the sign of silence. Everybody must keep quiet this is done not to distress the animal. After that indicate/show that a dangerous animal have been spotted so others are notified to be careful. Finally try to gather everyone at one place. 

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Successful Clean up Challenge

Equipped with bags, gloves, mask and a strong sense of purpose, around 4,000 kids from 42 different schools across Namibia, helped clean up their surroundings, streets, bush and beaches as part of the 2019 National Clean up Campaign between 16 to the 21 of September. 

The volunteers included kids, adolescents, teachers and parents – all of them gave their time to clear rubbish and raise awareness as part of the National Clean up and Anti-Littering Campaign that Honorable Pohamba Shifeta officially announced and declared last year to be held on the 21st of September 2019.

Successful 2019 Before / After Clean up Challenge for schools in Namibia

The Clean Up Campaign was aimed at changing the mindsets regarding pollution and littering of  all Namibian citizens. The Before and After clean up challenge was aimed to involve and encourange schools across the country to take part of this extraordinary campaign. Taking the kids outside to clean up their surroundings. Promoted a powerful message, namely; “Our trash, our responsability” and that “Namibia is not a trash can” at the same time.

The kids are the future of this Nation, therefore they play a key role to improve and adopt the best waste management practices through reducing, re-using and recycling. Kids need to be sensitized to this problem.

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Conservation Workshop – Introduction to the Namibian snakes for Conservancies and Game guards

TOSCO Trust is partnering with SNAKES OF NAMIBIA to propose an Awareness Conservation workshop for communities and especially for game guards.

The Conservation Workshop grants support training with a strong hands-on learning component that will help your communities understand the snakes better.

Objective: 

  1. Create awareness within the 86 conservancies in Namibia regarding snakes. 
  2. Collecting data from communities regarding the snake / human wildlife conflicts.
  3. Set up a first aid protocol (action plan) for snakebites in communities. 

Snakes of Namibia have developed a variety of snake handling and awareness courses of the last couple of years, because snakes often come into conflict with humans it is important that we equip the public with knowledge on identification, first aid and handling of dangerous snakes. Specially in Conservancies around Namibia, which there are not data collected.

TOSCO snake workshop, Francois Theart, Zebra snake

Conservation Workshop for Erongo Region

We planned the first workshop/training for game guards on Saturday 31 August 2019 for 6 conservancies: Tsiseb, Otjimboyo, Sorris Sorris, Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy, Doro !Nawas Conservancy andUibasen Twyfelfontein Conservancy, for a total of 12 persons game guards.

The workshop was hosted in Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) base camp. Where François Theart provided the basic regarding the biology of the snakes, identification and first aid & emergency numbers.

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How can we protect wildlife through ecotourism?

Conserving wildlife is not an easy task. Many countries like Namibia, use ecotourism as a tool for wildlife conservation, which aims at increasing income and jobs, encourage local people to see the value of wildlife. For example Namibia has initiated national parks as way to protect wild animals and their natural habitats, where hunting is illegal.

Responsible tourism

besides generates extra jobs and income for local people, help to conserve wildlife by making locals value the biodiversity they have. They provide performance payments to communities based on the abundance of wildlife in their area, the program creates a direct correlation between economic empowerment and conservation success. 

Responsible travel in Namibia

must be designedin a way that creates the right incentives to change people’s behavior. Tourism is not a magic tool for conservation, as it can only be effective when done in conjunction with patrolling (game guards) and law enforcement. If local people’s income from tourism increases with greater wildlife sightings by tourists, or decreases with increased illegal hunting or trade, ecotourism can help reduce hunting and protect wildlife. 

If you want to help protect wildlife through tourism, here are some simple things you can do: 

  • Never buy products made from endangered or protected species. 
  • Don’t keep illegally traded animals as pets. 
  • Support conservation programs and support local people outside national parks.
  • Avoid establishments with wild animals kept in captivity if there is no recognized conservation program.
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Jackals, the cleaners of Pelican Point

Jackals are not endangered in Namibia and are regularly seen on farms, lodges, Etosha and even in our Namib desert. They are known to be opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat anything they can find. Whether it be fruits, plants, mammals or even birds. 

Where is the strangest place to find jackals?

Perhaps the strangest of places to find jackals is at Pelican Point in Walvis Bay and along the Skeleton Coast, because Pelican Point is a long stretch Peninsula that is surrounded by the ocean and Skeleton Coast is where the Desert and the ocean meet so there is little water for the jackals to drink at either of these places. These jackals have adapted to drink less water than usual, because they get some of their water from the meat that they eat.

Jackals are a very important part of the ecosystem at Pelican Point and along the Skeleton Coast, because they eat the dead seals and birds, which makes them natural cleaners, preventing the spread of disease and keeping the environment relatively clean. If they become too friendly with humans, and start eating human food, either by going through bins in towns or being fed by us, they will no longer do this important cleaning job. This could make the spread of disease higher and the seal colonies will be even stinkier with rotting meat laying around. 

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