Winter fun out and about in the Cape

Winter fun out and about in the Cape
Published: 27 August 2018

Schools were out and it was once again time to get out into nature for the Cape Leopard Trust’s winter holiday programme, which saw 54 children and youth enjoying a few days away from the familiarity with their home life and having some outdoor fun.

The holiday programme consisted of outings to various destinations around the Cape Peninsula and Boland areas, and the ‘leopard bus’ covered a 1700 km in ten days.

This year our excited participants were from children’s home, Huis Andrew Murray, in Wellington, BRAVE Rock Girls from Mannenberg and a group of youngsters from the Mustadafin Foundation in Mitchell’s Plain.

Topics covered included biodiversity of the Western Cape and leopard habitat, CLT research, Marine and coastal research, plastic pollution in our oceans, fynbos diversity, fire ecology, predator-prey relationships and threats to biodiversity such as climate change, alien vegetation and human encroachment.

To bring these subjects to life, focused outings included estuarine ecology and birding at Zandvlei Nature Reserve, where we were treated to canoeing on the vlei. At Boulders beach we learnt about penguins and the plight to help save these special birds. At Driftsands Nature Reserve on the Cape Flats, we learnt about the various human-related threats hard-working staff at CapeNature need to deal with on a daily basis, including littering, vandalism and poaching!

We also visited Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve and demonstrated the use of camera traps in field research. On this particular trip to Mont Rochelle, we hiked to the viewpoint and discovered recently deposited snow, much to the delight of our young participants. For all of our special guests, this was a first, and we could not leave without making a snowman (even if it was a very small one!).

In the last week of the programme, we visited the Liesbeeck River below Kirstenbosch and were joined by ‘Living Labs’ who taught the group about river health through conducting a MiniSASS on-site river survey.

On the final day, we visited a fascinating ant programme called Iimbovane in Stellenbosch. Here we learnt about field research techniques such as pitfall traps, and were given the chance to look at ants under microscopes and were taught tiny critter identification skills.

The Cape Leopard Trust Education team would like to thank Regina Mundi (www.reginamundi.org) for their donation which made the first week of the holiday programme possible, without your support these children would not have had this opportunity. And to the BRAVE Rock Girls, we appreciate and value our partnership with you.

We would like to thank all of the organisations and partners who collaborated with us to make this programme possible, including the City of Cape Town at Zandvlei; the staff and interns at SAEON; Driftsands CapeNature staff; Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve and the dedicated teams at Iimbovane and Living Labs.

The Cape Leopard Trust Trapping Techniques

icon no trap Short overview of three trapping methods considered by the Cape Leopard Trust as safe and humane

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