MORE than 70 school parties visited the Umbogavango Nature Reserve this year bringing the total number of children who have enjoyed a morning at the Educational Resource Centre to 3 000. The nature reserve forms part of the largest chemical complex in the country and is a stone’s throw from Galleria.
Although it is a key point area with limited access by permit, visitors are able to visit the 34 hectare site by contacting security at the Umbogintwini Industrial Association (UIA), through Acacia for permission to explore the two dams, bird hides and nature trails. Contact it on 031 949 2111.
Chris Skinner, the upper South Coast branch of WESSA chairman, who organises the school programme with the help of intern students from the Department of Nature Conservation at Mangosothu University of Technology, says school visits have had a great impact on pupils.
“They see for the first time the importance of conserving our environment, how the eradication of alien vegetation is vital for the survival of our indigenous trees and plants and how we need to look after our scarce water resources.
“They return to their school environment and practice what they have learnt by planting their own trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens. They also keep their own environment clean and tidy.”
The programme at Umbogavango is sponsored by AECI. There are some 13 companies now operating on the UIA site who together employ more than 1 000 workers.