Pupils fly high with knowledge

2015-05-05 07:18
‘Bird Guardian’ Anne McLeod from the Cape Bird Club points out a pelican to Aqeefah and Labeeqah Martin from Pelican Park. 


‘Bird Guardian’ Anne McLeod from the Cape Bird Club points out a pelican to Aqeefah and Labeeqah Martin from Pelican Park. PHOTOS: GAVIN LAWSON

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“Save the birds” was the task of 40 “time travellers” from John Graham Primary, Hyde Park Primary, Lotus High and Pelican Park Primary at Princess Vlei on Friday 24 April.

In an event organised by the Princess Vlei Forum, the pupils roleplayed visitors from a future without birds. Their task was to go out and observe the birds at Princess Vlei, think about what the birds needed to survive and come up with ideas for how to ensure that we have birds in the future.

The children were helped by “time lords” (played by Brendon Bussy, Paul Hendricks, Emma Oliver, Christopher Gregorowski, Kit Dorje, Ebrahim Abrahams and Ingrid Solomons) and by “bird guardians” from the Cape Bird Club – Celia Wolfe, Anne Whitelock, Gillian Barnes and Anne McLeod.

The participants came up with many suggestions for how birds can be saved, such as creating sanctuaries, stopping pollution and keeping water clean.

Kacey Jacobs, a Grade 6 pupil from Hyde Park Primary, commented: “When I heard about how the Vlei looked one thousand years ago, compared to how it is in 2015, I realised that we have to find ways to make a difference now, otherwise we will have no birds in the future.”

Ingrid Solomons, a teacher at Hyde Park Primary, said: “Through this experience, the children are learning to appreciate the environment in general as well as the Vlei in itself because I know that they have never been made aware of how much the Vlei has to offer environmentally, although they literally live right opposite the Vlei.

‘The whole experience was educational at so many levels – a true outdoor classroom. The fact that it was in the form of a game made it that much more interesting for the pupils. They had to work as a team, observe, draw, find and collect evidence and eventually report back. Through all of this they find their strengths and weakness and areas they can improve on.”

At the end of the day, each time traveller was awarded a certificate. The future of Princess Vlei’s birds, and birds everywhere, is in good hands judging by these young young guardians.

The event launches the “Flight of dreams” programme, a collaborative project of the Princess Vlei Forum, Jungle Theatre Company, eMzantsi Carnival and the Frank Joubert Art Centre.

The programme aims to enable local schoolchildren to learn more about the birds of Princess Vlei, and to create giant puppets and masks celebrating the birds. These will be carried in a carnival parade through Grassy Park to Princess Vlei on 26 September. The parade will also feature drama and dance performances. V

For more information visit www.princessvlei.org

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