Next field trip loading… Visit our Veld School!

Next field trip loading… Visit our Veld School!

The next generation holds the key to the future. And by introducing them to the wonders of the natural world, we can already inspire them to get involved in conservation.

Every year on 26 January World Environmental Education Day shines a light on the importance of teaching children about the world we call home. This is something our ORCT team is particularly passionate about, which is why we implemented our Veld School programme – with support from the National Lotteries Commission and BTE Renewables – to invite tomorrow’s botanists, scientists and conservationists into the field!

There is no better way to learn about nature than by being immersed by it.

The Veld School started in 2022, after we finished transforming an old farm shed on our Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve into a learning centre. Since then, hundreds of kids have taken part in this interactive adventure.

“We introduced 450 learners to the wonders of renosterveld over the last two years, and our goal for 2024 is to get even more kids involved,” says ORCT intern Nande Notyalwa. “We especially want the schools that have visited us already to make return trips!”

Nande hosts the Veld School with Gretha Engelbrecht, who acts as primary educator. Gretha and Nande share their knowledge of the environment and demonstrate the delicate balance of our ecosystems through practical examples. Interactive games help kids to understand photosynthesis and the food pyramid, and in ‘Web of Life’ they learn how everything in the veld is interconnected.

Visiting groups can also learn about our conservation work through real cases, see how camera traps help us collect data, and discover how different the world around us looks through the lens of a microscope.

Swap out the classroom for blue sky and fresh air, and spend a day at Haarwegskloof.

Outside the walls of the learning centre, the reserve itself is also an extraordinary destination, as it is part of the largest and most contiguous stretch of renosterveld left in the world. By heading into the field, guided by our experts, the kids gain insight into the rare species and unique vegetation.

Some groups have even been lucky enough to see dramatic bird displays – including the Endangered Black Harrier, one of our focal species when it comes to conservation with fewer than 1 300 mature individuals left in the world.

“It’s such a unique place to visit, and it’s in your backyard!” says Nande.

Many of our local children have never had the chance to see renosterveld shine, but by visiting our reserve, they can experience this rare vegetation type in all its glory.

“The Veld School changes attitudes towards renosterveld, and it also teaches kids about their home. Because we live in renosterveld. It’s about taking pride in the ecosystem that you live in, and to enjoy it!”

We’re incredibly grateful to BTE Renewables for their support of this important programme, as well as to the National Lotteries Commission of SA for their support in the past. 

The Veld School

Other schools that are interested in making use of The Veld School and the facilities at our Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve can contact the ORCT for more. Email:
or phone: 083 551 3341