06 March, 2008


During the two weeks of 28 January to 7 February, various school groups from as far as Khayelitsha visited Zandvlei Nature Reserve to celebrate World Wetlands Day which falls on February 2nd. Many of these school children have never had a "wildlife experience" and come from disadvantaged communities who cannot afford to visit natural areas.

731 learners came from the following schools:

28/01/2008: Lwandle Public Primary
29/01/2008: Impendulol Primary
30/01/2008: Soyisile Primary
31/01/2008: Sosebenza Primary
04/02/2008: Meadowridge Primary
05/02/2008: Latana Primary and Zerilda Primary
06/02/2008: Cornflower Primary
07/02/2008: Mandalay Primary


They were brought to the Nature Reserve on "Themba" the Edu Train where they were given various lessons about the environment. Once at the reserve, they were taken on a tour through the reserve with bird identification charts. They were shown the special plants and took part in drama sessions to help understand the relationship between the urban and natural environments and the impacts they have on each other.

They took part in hands on experiments which helped them understand the functioning and importance of wetlands and estuaries and were treated to a live animal demonstration, an opportunity that some young learners never experience. Some learners were very scared but chose to overcome their fears if only for this day by holding some of the animals that we come into contact with at Zandvlei.

The holistic approach which the team at Zandvlei uses ensures that the learners leave with a good general knowledge of wetlands as well as an appreciation for the natural environment.

Many thanks to the people who made it possible: Mark Arendse (Education Officer Zandvlei), Fay Howa (Intern Zandvlei) Sebastian Osborne and Andrew Taylor (Nature Conservation students Zandvlei), Donna Dawson (International volunteer) and the Zandvlei Trust members who assisted with the preparation and hard work that went into the program. And thanks to the Metrorail Edutrain organisers and teachers for giving the next generation a memory to treasure.

Cassy Sheasby - Manager Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

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