Cederberg Camps and CLT Outings
We are ready to begin our educational camps in earnest. We have had a lot of interest in the camps and have a number of bookings for later in the year. One weekend camp has been held , which was fantastic (). Although some schools already have established camps of their own, many welcome the idea of including a Cape Leopard Trust outing in their programme. We have done several of these day trips.
Appropriately, the first school we did a presentation at was the Wupperthal School in the Cederberg – where Willem went to school. Willem took the bold step of doing the presentations together with me. We gave a talk to the Grade 4 – 6 children, and then the Grade 7 – 9 children. It was moving to see Willem standing there, back in his old school, commanding the attention and respect of a hall full of children. He spoke of the animals in the Cederberg and the work that he does - trapping and tracking leopard and caracal. I was most grateful for his presence, as this was not only my first presentation, but also all in Afrikaans (my Afrikaans, though improving rapidly, still has very notable gaps and a decidedly English accent).
Since the talks at Wupperthal, I have done four other school presentations. Two at Herzlia schools, one for Canon Creek and one at the Weber Gedenk Primary in Jamestown, near Stellenbosch. The latter was requested by the Dylan Lewis team, as one of Dylan Lewis’ leopard sculptures is displayed at the school. It has been a shock to me to realize how little our children know about the wildlife that exists in the mountains that surround them. The presentations use the photographs of various animals taken by the CLT infra-red cameras to broaden the children’s awareness of the local wildlife which is often threatened by human activity.
Local Environmental Clubs
The environmental ‘clubs’ at the two local farm schools in the Cederberg are well underway and really taking form. Willem and I have taken the Grade 4 - 6 children from Dwarsrivier Primary on three outings thus far, and I have done additional art classes with them and the Grade 1 – 3s. The art classes link to the themes explored in the environment. The children of the Eselbank Primary school have had an art class and an outing thus far. The children look forward to our visits immensely and the teachers are very supportive. With both groups we have taken them out walking directly from their school. Within moments we are surrounded by the beautiful Cederberg wilderness. Our first few sessions have focused on noticing signs of animal life. This will lead to learning more specific observational skills such as tracking.
There has already been a notable development in the children’s awareness of what is around them. The theme that emerged on the last walk with the Dwarsrivier children was that of seeds and their design and purpose. To develop this theme, we did an art exercise in chalk pastels which follows the growth of a seed from its place in the earth, with the addition of water, sending out roots and pushing up a shoot into the air and sunshine, unfolding its leaves and ultimately flowering. To see these children, full of unexplored potential, immersing themselves in the wonders of nature and producing works of beauty is inspiring.
Education Outreach Sponsors
Hans Hoheisen Chaitable Trust: We wish to thank the Hans Hoheisen Trust for its significant contribution to setting the education project up. Without these funds, we would not have been able to get everything done that we needed to.
Three Cities Group: The Three Cities group, who made a substantial donation to the project last year, have continued their support this year with an even greater donation of R65 000 towards the Education and Outreach Programme. The funding donated by the Three Cities group, will be used in three areas –supporting the local environmental clubs; sponsoring children’s education camps; and purchasing art equipment.
Kathy Ruttenberg: An extremely generous donation of U$5000 donation made to the project for the education programme has come into good use with the wonderful work that is being achieved through the Cape Leopard Trust’s education project.
Claremont Rotary Club: The Claremont Rotary Club’s Vocational Service Committee have generously donated R10 000 for the Wupperthal School’s Grade 9s to attend a Cape Leopard Trust Educational Camp. It is fantastic to be able to offer this to a Cederberg school and I believe it is very important that these children, who live in the area, develop a feeling for the value of the environment.
Market Toyota: Willie Engelbrecht form Market Toyota has ensured that the CLT education vehicle receives only the best service – for FREE. This fantastic sponsorship joins the support they already give the project with its other research vehicle, the Land Cruiser 70 “Witblitz”.