The Nuwejaars wetlands were transformed into a school laboratory in November. Three schools were hosted on an outing to the wetlands over the course of a week, organised by the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area (NWSMA).
Two of the schools were from Elim: the Elim Primary School and the Mispah School for Learners with Special Educational Needs. The community of Elim is a member of the NWSMA – a non-profit company responsible for protecting these critically important natural landscapes. The Southgate Academy in Bredasdorp also joined the environmental education week.
In total 350 children were transported to the NWSMA, where they could learn about the role that wetlands play in providing life to organisms, plants and animals.
According to Environmental Educator Gretha Engelbrecht, who presented the lessons, “It’s vital for children to experience environmental education. It’s sometimes difficult for under-resourced schools to organise trips for their school children that align the curriculum with environmental education. Often the curriculum doesn’t include these practical opportunities. But if children don’t experience it firsthand, then teachers could simply be talking to the wind.
“So children must get out to see this for themselves and be made aware of our natural world from a young age.”