REPORT ON ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION BY THE NATURE'S VALLEY CONSERVATION TRUST
Posted on the 3rd November 2013
“Big Birding Experience” – Cindy-Lee Cloete
The Garden Route is one of the most environmentally valuable areas in South Africa with its rich mosaic of coastal fynbos, indigenous forest, estuaries, rivers, rocky shores and southern ocean, which all combine to support an unparalleled biodiversity. With this said it is also one of the most valuable and rapidly developed stretches of South Africa’s coastline and threatens the biodiversity of the flora and faunal life here, our avian friends included.
The NVT has used environmental education as a tool to inform and mobilise the Bitou communities and schools about the importance of looking after our natural environment and the creatures that forage in it for several years now, with over 5000 participants in our programs each year. Western Cape birding is one of the best in South Africa with the highest number of endemic species and together with BirdLife-Plett the NVT have embarked on giving six of our Eco-Schools the “Big Birding Experience”.
Cindy-Lee and Mark from NVT will be facilitating the Big Birding Experience to take the learners on a journey of becoming twitchers . This will be an on-going programme and will initially consist of a two part lesson-and-practical activity with two of our Eco-Clubs. The first session will introduce the learners to birding and how to identify birds followed by an outing to a wetland for an afternoon of real birding and the start of their lists … During this outing these learners will use proper birding gear, including binos and guides. Some of them will be using a pair of binoculars for the first time in their lives and we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Tom Grieve for sponsoring the 10 pairs of binoculars and field guides to make this experience so much more valuable. The Big Birding Experience will also visit six of our Eco-Schools teaching them about birds, birding and habitat conservation.
This birding experience is funded by BirdLife Plett and would not have otherwise been possible. We are very grateful to BirdLife Plett for giving these learners the opportunity to get to know our feathery friends a little better and to start enjoying them. Happy Birding.