You might remember Brent Stapelkamp in connection with the sad story of Cecil the Lion a few years back. Today Brent and his wife Laurie are making a much quieter, yet remarkable difference to conserve nature outside Hwange National Park.
[Watch the video of our visit below]
Could you give up all your creature comforts?
Well, at least most of them, especially those modern conveniences we get so used to. Conveniences like running to the shop for bread at 10pm to make school lunches.
Brent and Laurie gave it all up to live in a native village bordering Hwange National Park. Here the rules are different. The village chief grants parcels of land to whoever he wishes.
Brent and Laurie now live off the gird on their allotted land to conserve nature. Their simple home is hand built, largely by Laurie, out of mud and manure bricks. Their water is collected or hauled in from the newly drilled borehole. This new borehole is for the entire village and was funded by her grandfather’s skydiving escapade!
The day we visit we find Laurie building terraces on a rocky, unwanted piece of land. Here she is with a group of village women moving rocks and dirt with visions of vegetables in their eyes.
Brent tells us why good soil turns hard and useless. He speaks about what can be done to reverse it. It’s surprising to learn that intense use by large herds of livestock, over a short period of time, loosens up the hardened earth in preparation of moisture.
Brent and Laurie have organized a grassroots group of local villagers. Each person plays a specific role to conserve nature: From growing vegetables on rocky slopes to herding their livestock differently. From making solar powered dehydrators to capturing rain water. From protecting their fields against elephants to learning how to use mobile chicken coops.
All this hard work for one purpose… to conserve nature… so that humans, their livestock and the wildlife can all thrive long term.
To learn more about Brent and Laurie’s work visit their website.