Happy Earth Fest turns five in 2017

2016-10-12 06:00
PHOTO: Saysha Baker Happy Earth Festival is open to all registered school groups from pre-primary to high school, for free and is held annually at the KZN Botanical Gardens. Next year the event will run from 20 to 21 April.

PHOTO: Saysha Baker Happy Earth Festival is open to all registered school groups from pre-primary to high school, for free and is held annually at the KZN Botanical Gardens. Next year the event will run from 20 to 21 April.

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THE Happy Earth Forum is excited to celebrate five years of connecting children to nature through their Happy Earth Festival.

The festival is open to all registered school groups from pre-primary to high school. It is free and is held annually at the KZN Botanical Gardens. Next year the event will run from 20 to 21 April.

Over 20 organisations participate in the two-day event by offering hands-on activities and exposing pupils to the full range of environmental learning.

Activities vary from being water wise to fire awareness, story-telling, interacting with natural science museums­, environmental awareness games or just having fun in the Botanical Gardens with an “Amazing Race” for the older ones or Scavenger Hunts for the little ones.

“Looking back from where it started, it is gratifying to see how we have grown and improved the festival. The number of pupils that attend the festival has doubled, with over 1 200 pupils attending this year.

“Besides the 25-minute activity slots for the participating organisations, we have added a celebration circle to end off the festival. This adds to the festive atmosphere and allows extra fun in the form of street theatre, school performances and motivational speakers.

“Turning five is a major achievement, not ready for school yet, but mastered­ pre-primary beautifully - all the basics are in place. We have a beautiful venue with fantastic organisations offering hands-on activities and commitment from schools,” said Happy Earth Forum co-ordinator, Friederike Voigt.

The event places emphasis on giving disadvantage schools an opportunity to attend, however, funding for their transport and food prove difficult to source.

“Reaching out to these schools is a mandate we take very seriously. Many pupils come from degraded environments and poorly equipped schools, and this is often their first exposure to environmental­ education and a natural environment. The experiential learning, combined with the variety of organisations, makes this a remarkable event not to be missed for pupils from all backgrounds.”

Voigt thanked Pietermaritzburg Rotary, the Botanical Society, Sunshine Bread, Parklane Spar, Bluff Meat Supplies and Fairfield Dairy for their support over the years.

The festival is organised by the Happy­ Earth Environmental Education and Sustainability Forum, a multi-department and multi-stakeholder volunteer association run by environmental teachers from government organisations, NGOs and private individuals.

- Supplied.


To register a school for the Happy Earth festival or to help with sponsorship to enable disadvantaged pupils to attend email happyearthforum@gmail.com or phone Voigt on 082 779 6766.

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