Sharing is caring – teachers and NGO’s join hands to improve environmental learning

Published: 06 July 2021

Environmental education (EE) connects individuals and communities to the natural world around us. It raises awareness of issues impacting the environment upon which we all depend, as well as actions we can take to improve and sustain it. The importance of EE cannot be overstated. It has the power to transform lives and society; it informs and inspires; it influences attitudes and motivates action. Environmental education is more than just teaching in the outdoors, it is a special and unique pedagogy that allows learning across all facets of life. Whether we bring nature into the classroom, take students outside to learn, or find impromptu teachable moments on a nature walk with our families, EE has far-reaching benefits for youth, educators, schools, and communities.

The Western Cape is fortunate to have a supportive education department that appreciates the value of EE being taught in the classroom. The province is also privileged to have institutions and organisations that offer environmental learning to aid schools and teachers in this important endeavour. However, many teachers and educators are unaware of the resources, tools and services available to support their EE teachings.

To change this situation and in collaboration with key partners, the Cape Leopard Trust EE team recently hosted successful Teacher Development Workshops with the aim of sharing these resources, tools and services with teachers and educators. More than 50 teachers and educators attended two interactive workshops, one in Citrusdal for schools in the greater Cederberg and West Coast district, and one at Boschendal for the Cape Winelands district. The CLT team was joined by WCED, SANBI, CapeNature and CTEET, who all shared their resources and services with workshop attendees.

By all accounts, the workshops were successful in increasing the capacity and enthusiasm of local teachers and educators to provide accurate and engaging environmental education. As intended, it also provided tools and resources for teachers to use in the classroom and provided a link with the respective partner organisations. On the basis of this success, we plan to host more of these workshops in future to build more awareness and create a valuable network of support for like-minded teachers and educators.

A big thank you to the teams from SANBI, CapeNature and CTEET for your time and effort. A special thank you to the Western Cape Education Department for opening and closing both workshops with an introductory presentation and words of thanks!

The CLT Teacher Development Workshops were funded by the National Lotteries Commission and Oak Foundation.