Eco-Mentor Training for the Bobirwa Region, took place at Tuli Safari Lodge from the 5th to the 7th of April 2019. It was wonderful to have the training at the lodge for a number of reasons. Not only did the Mentors get to go on two beautiful game drives and get to see and experience what it is that we’re trying to conserve, but it meant that we were all together in one spot, which allowed time for team-building and bonding.
18 Eco-Mentors arrived on Friday afternoon, ready for action. We had three Mentors from each of the six village primary schools in the Bobirwa Region – Mathathane, Mothlabaneng, Lenstwe-Le-Moriti, Gobojango, Semolale and Mabolwe. Each village has an Eco-Club Coordinator, who liaises directly with Tanya McKenzie (Bobirwa Programme Coordinator) and Isabel Wolf-Gillespie (Bobirwa Community Outreach Coordinator) throughout the year on the running of the Eco-Clubs. These Coordinators are either teachers or, in the case of Lentswe, dedicated community members. The Eco-Club Coordinators and their fellow Eco-Club teachers, as well as a few community members and two, now all grown up, CITW Eco-Campers, made up the group of 18 enthusiastic Mentors.
Training focused on lessons from the CITW Eco-Club Resource Book. Our lessons focus on environmental education, conservation and life skills lessons. The aim of the training was to give the Mentors guidance, knowledge and understanding around lesson topics, and to show the teachers new and interesting teaching methods. CITW focuses on practical, hands-on teaching styles, where children learn through practical activities and experiments.
We had interesting discussions and debates around human-wildlife conflict, poaching and other environmental topics, all in between lively energisers, direct learning, singing and dancing, and the most magnificent game drives!
“I think the most important message that was “experienced” at Tuli Lodge, is why people from abroad pay to visit our game reserve. When we were experiencing sundowners on a high sandstone koppie, in the most spectacular sunset, with elephants feeding below us, I took the time to point out why a person living in a city abroad would want to come and experience that” – Tanya McKenzie.
A huge thank you must go to Tuli Safari Lodge for the donation of accommodation and for providing a beautiful and peaceful environment for us to train.
“I have learnt that children understand more easily during practical lessons. It is easy for them to learn through experiments” – Thabiso Tsheole, Lentswe-Le-Moriti
“The eco-bricks [were the most useful or exciting] lesson. Instead of throwing used plastics and bottles, we can make stools or benches that will benefit the Eco-Club Children and the community at large” – Anonymous
“I really enjoyed the water cycle and transpiration experiment. I now understand the topic better. The experiment is suitable for pupils at primary school level, and is easy to understand” – Prudence Tapiwa, Gobojango Primary School
“We need to ensure that children are the solid foundation in conservation” – Neo Madome, Motlhabaneng Village
“The most interesting thing I learnt, was how to make eco-bricks. This idea is good because useful things are made and at the same time waste is managed” – Gladys Lekgolwane, Motlhabaneng Primary School
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS CREDITED TO ISABEL WOLF-GILLESPIE