On Tuesday the 17th of September the C.V.C. rangers attended an environmental education event at St. Fort farm on invitation from Clarens Xtreme.
Environmental education was held with a total of 88 grade 6 students from Jordania Primary – a local school based in Bethlehem. The students were out on a 4 day leadership camp where they would learn about teamwork and the basic problem solving skills necessary to become the next group of prefects. The experiences of those 4 days would help the students to develop these attributes and ultimately play a role in prefect selection in early 2014.
Ollie Esplin, his team and the rangers Eben Mofokeng, Samuel & Amos Miya and head ranger Damien Coulson departed from the wagon camp at 14:00 sharp together with the students who had been split into 4 groups, each with their own unique animal name. The students would walk a trail of approximately 4 km before coming to their final resting stop for the evening – the mouth of a large cave. Each ranger was given a group of around 22 students to lead and after a brief introduction the teams departed, taking brief rest stops at intervals. Along the way the rangers, Damien and Ollie talked about different aspects of the natural environment – everything from the difference between indigenous and alien plants with examples and traditional uses to identification features of various plants. Ollie gave a brief but insightful talk about the geology of the surrounding landscape, using examples from the stones and rock formations in the area, and even mentioned a little on the subject of dinosaurs, fossils and plate tectonics.
After the 4 km hike along a gradual uphill and winding dirt roads, the students were clearly glad to have reached their destination. The students spent the next half hour in a buzz setting up camp in the overhang, complete with mattresses and sleeping bags. At the same time Ollie taught the rangers a little history on the subject of bushman rock-art, and Damien showed Ollie a signature mark of a prehistoric wetland – ferrous mottles in the cave-rock. Much of what was mentioned was not only informative but also highly fascinating.
That evening the students slept under warm starry skies whilst, for the rangers the short adventure was at an end. The afternoon had been a success – the students, Ollie and even the rangers had learned something new about the natural environment. On departure the rangers thoughts were all the same – we had to do this again!