This past Saturday saw approximately 60 students from 13 Gauteng based schools engage in SANParks’ Kudu Green Schools Initiative. Several additional organisations including The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) and Rand Water Foundation (RWF), were also invited to attend and share knowledge of an environmental nature with the students – for many of which was most likely a first-in-a-lifetime event.
The students selected for the 3-day programme (Friday 26th – Sunday 28th) based at Golden Gate’s Enviro-Centre, were chosen from a select few involved in environmental clubs and extramural activities within their respective schools. The intention was to impart to the students a sense of the environment and its relation with mankind; development and limited natural resources. This was developed to be both fun and informal as outings to the Basotho Cultural Village; outdoor hikes of Golden Gate; Abseiling and not to mention horse-rides, but also involved a more structured educational aspect in the form of enviro-games and activities. These ranged from dividing the students into groups and conducting water audits (RWF), to a presentation regarding the value of indigenous plants and problems associated with alien-invasives (GDARD), to recycling awareness and even a lecture on biodiversity conservation (SANParks). Covering the event also were representatives of RSG radio who travelled from as far as Pretoria, solely in order to capture some exciting voice recording of the students in the midst of their various activities.
Though the schedule didn’t go entirely as planned and even though the weather wasn’t ideal for outdoors activities (rain, hail and icy-cold wind included), it didn’t seem to bother the students, many of whom had never been on an outdoors adventure of this sort in their lives. It is envisioned that more of these sort of events – hosted by the Kudu green Schools Initiative – will be conducted in the future and will be further improved by collaboration with local environmental organisations, including amongst others (and utilising the expert outdoor knowledge and skills of the rangers) your very own Clarens Village Conservancy.
At the very least, the weekend should serve as a platform from which a new generation of budding, energetic and motivated young conservationists may spring.
Article and photography by Damien Coulson