AS the date for the fifth annual Happy Earth Festival draws closer the organisers are grateful to organisations that are participating. Providing the venue and also one of the organisers, Sanbi’s KZN National Botanical Gardens will enable pupils to get in touch with nature. Their biodiversity education directorate offers a garden-based programme where schools are invited to explore the garden and take pride in South Africa’s indigenous plants and animals. The Botanical Society of South Africa, a national NGO, aims to “know, grow and protect” indigenous flora. The Midlands branch focuses on botanical issues in the area and hosts an annual open wildlife and indigenous gardens event, talks and walks focused on indigenous plants and gardening. Sunshine Bakery is not only one of the sponsors, it is also committed to looking after the country and the environment by promoting recycling of their bread packets through their schools competition. They have a stand at the festival and will run exciting activities. The KwaZulu-Natal Museum will offer several hands-on activities with the pupils and will participate in a mini-excavation and get their hands dirty by learning digging up artefacts, how to identify these artefacts and discover what time period they come from. The museum will also showcase their new “Museum in a Box” programme where pupils interact with items from the collections, and learn about various topics at the same time. Pupils will be taught how to make a worm farm and the role earthworms play in our eco-system.Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Community Conservation unit, responsible for environmental education and awareness, will also be exhibiting at the event. This unit aims to create awareness of endangered species and the importance of the preservation of the species and their habitats as well as the cultural and historical significance and the economic and other benefits of conserving the natural heritage.The Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust (Duct) champions the health of the Msunduzi and uMngeni rivers. Duct has 32 river care teams working on alien weed eradication, solid waste removal and rehabilitation of riparian areas in the uMngeni catchment. Duct Howick supports the UMDM Mpophomeni Enviro-Champs, which includes a community education programme and street theatre sanitation drama. The Duct Education teams support river health and cleaning and greening projects in the uMngeni Catchment. The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation is an independent non-profit group that seeks to reverse the dwindling spiral of the plant and animal kingdoms and our environment through education and action. With 23 branches internationally they bring practical and specific education to pupils. In addition to this they run a number of projects that drive the preservation of natural areas to provide range land for wildlife. Working on Fire in KwaZulu-Natal, a Department of Environmental Affairs-funded programme aimed at implementing integrated fire management in South Africa, promotes saving lives, protecting the environment and restoring dignity. It educates the community about how to stay safe during fire season and why it is important to protect the environment. They also provide volunteer services at the festival assisting with the smooth running of the festival over the two days. The festival is on 20 and 21 April. Registration closes on 28 February. Bookings are filling up quickly, schools are urged to register by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the registration form. — Supplied.