New Grootkloof centre to educate about environment

2015-10-07 06:00
The Grootkloof Education Centre, which will educate the Port Elizabeth community about the environment, opened its doors to the public recently.

The Grootkloof Education Centre, which will educate the Port Elizabeth community about the environment, opened its doors to the public recently.

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AN educational centre that will serve to teach Nelson Mandela Bay citizens how to protect the environment, opened in the heart of the northern areas recently.

The creation of the Grootkloof Education Centre, which is an addition to the Van der Kempskloof reserve, was planned nearly 10 years ago, said Joy Seale, chairperson of the metro’s standing committee for public health.

According to Seale, the project began in 2006, but was delayed due to a range of problems. “In 2011 we started construction, using R10 million that was put aside by the municipality for the project,” said Seale. “We had to stop the work for two years though, because we ran out of funding.”

A team of 45 workers from the community of Hillside were recruited to complete the construction, but Seale said their involvement in the project could not end there. “This building could become a target for vandalism, but if the community steps in to protect it, the project will not go under.”

The centre already has five “teachers” who will teach learners and adults alike about protecting the environment, said Adele Majal, project manager at the centre. “In the past we had to race between schools to teach learners, and we only had half an hour at each school,” said Majal. “Now we can teach them here, where they can see and feel nature around them.”

The lesson plans at Grootkloof are tailored to match national environmental days, explained Pumla Koltana, senior environmental education officer. “The national days are focused on the biggest problems we face in our environment. We offer several activities around these themes, but the children are not empty vessels. They bring their own ideas to the lessons. We learn from them as much as they learn from us.”

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