Lessons on the dwarf chameleon

2019-03-26 06:01
Lea Wowra.

Lea Wowra.

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The Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) in Westlake will soon be running the educational programmes on the awareness and promote a book about the dwarf chameleon in Cape Town.

The programmes which will start in April will be suited for Foundation Phase classes.

The awareness programmes follow the release of a storybook called to Cammy Chameleon written by one of the international volunteers, Lea Wowra from Germany.

Wowra was placed at the Environmental Education Centre in Zeekoevlei where she was involved in educational programmes and assisted with day programmes, overnight camps and field trips for nine months. That is how her idea of writing the book came about.

The book addresses the threats faced by the dwarf chameleon and how they can be saved.

Helen Whelan, spokesperson for CTEET, says: “The general message and aim of the programme is to make children aware of these creatures, and to show them ways that they can help to save this, and other, indigenous species.”

Talking about her book, Wowra says when she arrived in Cape Town she immediately fell in love with the fascinating Cape Dwarf Chameleons.

“During the summer months, I realised that a lot of these chameleons were being run over by cars close to the reserve and I wondered about what I could possibly do to spread awareness about the issue and to get young children involved.”

She is thankful that coming to South Africa made her make use of her passion to do something valuable.

It took her a year to put everything together and have it published.

According to Wowra, the book tells the story of Cammy, a young and adventurous Cape Dwarf Chameleon, living at Rondevlei Nature Reserve. “She likes visiting her best friend Casper, who lives just across the street. Until one day, she encounters what she believes to be a terrifying animal.”

Wowra says the book includes an additional reference section listing fun facts, explaining the importance of the Cape Dwarf Chameleon and the threats they face. It also highlights some actions that young children can do to help save these colourful creatures.

“I have always had a passion for nature as well as for writing. Yet I would not have expected this book to come about before moving to South Africa. I did not think I would publish one of my stories someday. Publishing the book has been a long and wonderful journey,” she says.

In her attempt to raise awareness, she has held talks at some primary schools and was pleased with the response.

“The children were so fascinated and engaged in the talks. To me, it is just very important to get the conversation going. We all know about lions, hippos and rhinos – which is important – but sometimes we have to look a little closer, so that we can make sure that our Cape Dwarf Chameleon populations recover before it’s too late.”

The book is available online, Wowra says it will hit the shelves soon. It is suitable for children up to the age of 10. Interested schools are encouraged to contact CTEET.

V Schools interested in hosting and to get more information about the chameleon programmes are advised to email bookings@cteet.co.za


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