Going batty at our latest Johannesburg Eco-Club, South Africa

On Saturday the 6th October, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Johannesburg hosted the third of four Eco-Clubs for the year. Open to the children of Wilderness Safaris Johannesburg staff, the idea is for CITW to spread our message to the Wilderness Safaris and CITW families. Not only do the children and parents get to see what we do first-hand, but they take away some kind of conservation message for the day. These are run in a similar way to how we run our Eco-Clubs in the schools with which we work in our Regions. Read all about out Eco-Clubs here.

So far this year in our Joburg Eco-Clubs, we’ve focused on water conservation celebrating World Water Day in March, and World Environment Day in June where we looked at beating plastic pollution. 

With October being all about Halloween, Saturday’s Eco-Club was all about bats! We wanted to take the opportunity to show that bats aren’t the creepy, sinister creatures they’ve been made out to be. We wanted to set the record straight and give bats the good reputation they deserve.

On Saturday the 6th October, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Johannesburg hosted the third of four Eco-Clubs for the year. Open to the children of Wilderness Safaris Johannesburg staff, the idea is for CITW to spread our message to the Wilderness Safaris and CITW families. Not only do the children and parents get to see what we do first-hand, but they take away some kind of conservation message for the day. These are run in a similar way to how we run our Eco-Clubs in the schools with which we work in our Regions. Read all about out Eco-Clubs here.

So far this year in our Joburg Eco-Clubs, we’ve focused on water conservation celebrating World Water Day in March, and World Environment Day in June where we looked at beating plastic pollution. 

With October being all about Halloween, Saturday’s Eco-Club was all about bats! We wanted to take the opportunity to show that bats aren’t the creepy, sinister creatures they’ve been made out to be. We wanted to set the record straight and give bats the good reputation they deserve.

The morning started with 24 eager children between the ages of four and eleven, arriving at the Wilderness Safaris offices, to our enthusiastic Mentors. And what a group of Mentors we had – not only CITW staff, but four members of Wilderness Safaris staff, too. In true CITW fashion, we began with a few songs, before moving into two groups to play games to get to know each other.

Onto a lesson on bats, and an adapted version of Marco Polo (in this case, Bat Moth), before two passionate volunteers from GNoRBIG (Gauteng and Northern Region Bat Interest Group) arrived with live bats to show the children. The ladies highlighted myths about bats, explaining in detail how vampire bats feed and that bats do not in fact want to make a nest in your hair! Each group had the chance to see and feel the bats, and watch the insectivorous bats have their breakfast. By the end of it, the children were ooo-ing and aww-ing over the cute little bats, with a better understanding of them and their harmlessness. The GNoRBIG Volunteer’s passion and enthusiasm was evident and contagious!

The children then had a chance to make their own bats, before scurrying up the climbing wall with our wonderful volunteers from the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) Johannesburg Section, who have been part of all of our Eco-Clubs so far, always smiling and full of encouragement, guiding our kids up the wall.  

Beautiful bat cupcakes, made by our very own Mari, in orange and blue to represent dawn and dusk, ended off the morning with big smiles and very happy children!

A huge thank you must go to the volunteers who made this such a special morning:

  • Wanda and Sharron from GNoRBIG;
  • Grant and his team, Deanne and Laura from MCSA;
  • And of course to the CITW and Wilderness Safaris Mentors who made it all happen.

Our final Johannesburg Eco-Club in December promises to be a good one – watch this space!