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My placement in the Cross River Information Team 4, by Rupert Bennett

As a student at Newcastle University I had the opportunity to work as part of the Cross-River Gorilla Project to aide their current conservation and education efforts in Cameroon. As part of the 4th CRIT team from Newcastle we were presented with two main aims: fundraising in a way which would also create publicity for the charity and developing products that would bring awareness to the Lebialem highlands diverse and unique flora and fauna.

We held two bake sales on the Newcastle University campus as well as a Gorilla Mingle at The Continental which were all a great success. The bake sales provided a really useful platform to engage and inform the public on the current humanitarian crisis in Cameroon and the effect is it having on the Cross-River Gorilla whilst also raising money with the promise of our delicious baked goods. The responses we received highlighted that very few people knew about either of the crises which confirmed the need to create informative yet aesthetic and marketable posters as our product to increase awareness.

The Gorilla Mingle at The Continental offered another opportunity to bring the public up to speed on the work that the Cross-River Gorilla Project is doing as well as drawing attention to the issues the charity is working to combat. A brilliant video previously put together by Rebecca Salt (which can be found on the website) kicked off the evening and introduced the Cross-River Gorilla, its history and the threats that face it. A number of activities were run over the course of the evening including a world wildlife quiz, guess the number of gins in the bar, guess the name of the gorilla and a raffle which could all be played for a small fee and contributed to the enjoyment of the evening. The event had a fantastic turn out and all of the guests were actively engaging with the activities which was a massive confidence boost as it demonstrated people were interested in the charities cause and willing to get involved.

For our products we decided to make one poster on the various butterflies of the Lebialem Highlands which was to be very visual with the beauty of the butterflies being the main focus point of the poster and the only text being the species names. Alongside this the second poster was made on the flora of the highlands and went into greater detail than the butterfly poster therefore acting as more of an informative resource. Each member of the group researched and wrote a section on a specific plant of interest and its importance. A special mention must go to Mercedesz Orosz for her photoshop expertise which was vital for the posters to come to fruition.

The outbreak of the Corona virus unfortunately meant that the placement was cut short with the CRIT 4 team having to return to our various homes before lockdown. Despite this we managed to complete the both of the posters and being able to see the final products gave us a great sense of satisfaction as we could complete the tasks that we set out to achieve. The Cameroon Connect Conference at which we had hoped to debut our posters has also had to been postponed however hopefully this will be rescheduled and we will still get this amazing opportunity.

Thanks to Rupert for his piece on CRIT 4 and the Gorilla Mingle! To purchase a t shirt with the beautiful butterfly design, head to our teemills site and don't forget to share your pics with us by tagging us on social media!

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