Michele Von Haugg, Founder of Clarinets for Conservation, and its assistant director, Scott Horsington, have just arrived in Moshi, Tanzania where they are preparing to work with Sebastian Chuwa of the African Blackwood Conservation Project and Samweli Mochiwa of the Kiviwama Conservation Project. They will team up to provide a unique interdisciplinary curriculum combining music and conservation education to students of the Mali Hai club of Korongoni Secondary School.
The students will learn the clarinet (an instrument born of the African Blackwood tree) in the mornings, and they will receive conservation lectures in the afternoons. They will also take part in several performances and tree plantings throughout the communities of the Kilimanjaro region.
Michele and Scott have been fortunate to work together as performing artists. Their passion for music is equaled with their passion to use their talents in making a difference. Jane Goodall was a key figure in making a difference in Michele’s childhood. In reading her books and meditating on her words from Reason for Hope, Michele found hope in some very dark moments, and made a promise to herself to spend her future giving something of what she was so lucky to receive.
Founded in 2010, Clarinets for Conservation seeks to teach conservation through music education. The pilot program took place in Moshi, Tanzania at the Korongoni Secondary School, where 12 students were selected to spend six weeks studying the clarinet and basic elements of conservation. Tanzania’s national tree, the Mpingo, is of great value to artists, furniture makers and hardwood carvers all over the world, and it is this high demand that has threatened the tree’s existence. Commonly referred to as Blackwood, Hardwood, or Grenadilla, the Mpingo provides the wood used to manufacture the clarinet.
Clarinets for Conservation is founded on three principles. The first and foremost principle is education for a developing nation: As a developing country, Tanzania lacks the educational resources accessible to most developed countries. The teachers of Clarinets for Conservation seek to provide conservation education to the students of Tanzania in order to protect the critical natural resources of our world. The second principle is opportunity in the musical arts: While commonly known to most musical cultures all over the world, the clarinet is virtually unknown in Tanzania. Though the wood of the instrument is harvested primarily in Tanzania and Mozambique, the people of these countries know almost nothing of the clarinet. This leads us to the third principal of Clarinets for Conservation: international collaboration.
Clarinets for Conservation provides an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability through music education. Its primary goals are to inspire creativity and to encourage the protection of natural resources: http://www.clarinetsforconservation.org/Clarinets_for_Conservation/Home.html