2012 was an exciting year for us. Our programme is built on a foundation of Eco Clubs and we were delighted to introduce more Eco Clubs and began developing mentors to operate these clubs in the schools within their communities.
Children in the Rocktail Beach Camp area held their first Eco Clubs and some children in the Pafuri Camp region were introduced to elephant collaring and tracking. Budding young artists won bicycles in an eco-club collage competition, and schools in Makuleke village planted indigenous trees in their school grounds as part of Arbour Day celebrations.
The Rocktail programme was once again generously supported by Abax Foundation and their sustained investment is paying dividends with both the children and communities at large reaping the rewards.
Save The Elephants hosted four children from Makuleke Eco Clubs on an elephant educational at Pafuri. The children learned amazing things about elephants and their behaviour and it is evident in the children’s reportbacks that all four are new Elephant Ambassadors.
Children in the Wilderness received a generous donation of bicycles from a corporate sponsor so we held an environmental collage competition. The objectives were to ‘think green’ and recycle old brochures while encouraging children to consider one of the following statements and come up with their ideas and ‘draw’ their answer into a collage: What I can do to conserve nature OR What I can do to help save our planet. Every entrant was given a sponsors’ shirt for their participation – so everyone was a winner!
We invited a staff member from Rocktail to participate on the CITW camp at Pafuri. The aim was for exposure to another CITW camp and to talk to the Pafuri Eco Club mentors on how they work in the Makuleke schools. It was the first time he had flown in an aeroplane, visited Kruger National Park, or seen lions and elephants. He returned to Rocktail having learned so much and excited to share it all with his colleagues and community.
Participants on the annual Rocktail and Pafuri Children in the Wilderness camps covered topics ranging from Leadership Values (Creativity, Awareness, Honesty, and Integrity) to No Littering/Recycling, Web of Life, What Belongs in Nature, Nutrition Health and Wellness, and Careers in Lodge Tourism. The Art and Craft activities include making dream catchers and environmental collages (mosaics) and Stage Night highlighted Local Heritage. , Despite not having Art sessions at school as part of the Department of Basic Education curriculum, the hidden talent in the children had a chance to shine. Initially they were very shy about painting and making collages, but after some guidance, they were engrossed and produced some lovely work.
On camp children have many new experiences. Children at the Rocktail camp participate in various marine activities including turtle research and a boat trip out to sea where they got to see breaching humpback whales, turtles and dolphins amid much exictement and joy.
The children at Pafuri camp got to learn about animal identification and game tracking in action with SA National Parks anti-poaching rangers. Everyone is exposed to some kind of environmental awakening and judging by the career choices that were hung on their dream catchers – ranging from safari guide to minister of the environment, the children do care.
At Pafuri this year we included much more time in the Workshop during the Careers Component in order to focus on practical, mechanical opportunities for example bricklaying. It was wonderful to see some of the children take to these activities and realise their own hidden talents.