A future posse of Renosterveld warriors! That’s a vital ‘new’ focus for the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, with the launch of The Veld School at our Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve.
We’re now introducing young children from rural schools in the Overberg to Renosterveld. Thanks to funding from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), around 300 local children will get to know the incredible natural world on their doorstep.
Welcome to Klipdale Primary!
Already the first group of learners in Grades 5-7 from the Klipdale Primary School became citizen scientists for a day at The Veld School. Under the tutorship of Environmental Educator Gretha Engelbrecht, with the ORCT’s intern, Nande Notyalwa as guide, they got up close and personal with Renosterveld. Their trip included a hike through Renosterveld, a practical learning session in our The Shed Learning Centre, and a delicious meal.
According to Nande, environmental education programmes allow children to appreciate nature from an early age.
She says, “Through our work with the children, they can escape the daily routine and come face to face with real-life science. These kids will speak of this trip for years to come. And it might even inspire future generations of conservators.”
The Overberg is home to incredible diversity. But according to Nande, many Overberg children aren’t aware of this. “Few children are afforded the opportunity to visit places beyond the school ground. As a result, they don’t know their own natural heritage – and wouldn’t realise the importance of protecting it. We hope our programme will change all that.”
The ORCT will be working with several rural schools in the Overberg. These schools would not normally have the means to transport children to nature spaces away from the school. Children get to interact with nature in a meaningful way – adding to what they are already learning in their national curriculum. They’re also given a meal, school worksheets and walk away with a ‘Renosterveld warrior’ badge and a notebook and other stationery to take their own notes as they continue exploring the veld in their own time.
The ORCT’s programme will also focus on science teachers. Nande says, “Inspired teachers inspire learners. So teachers from these schools can attend our training events, to strengthen their teachings in natural science and related subjects.” Teacher training will kick off later in 2022.
ORCT Director Odette Curtis-Scott says the launch of the Environmental Education programme has been a long time coming. “We’ve always known the importance of reaching the Overberg’s future generations. That’s why in 2019, we launched a crowdfunding campaign to get the necessary infrastructure in place to launch The Veld School. Three years later, we’re there – with huge thanks to the National Lotteries Commission.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone: 083 551 3341