On Friday January 23rd I had the privilege to attend the Green Flag Award Ceremony for Eco-Schools in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The ceremony was organised by Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa & World Wildlife Fund task team in association with De Beers Mines & Nampak.
The aims of having Eco-Schools in my view are to:
The day started well; among the speakers were representatives from WWF-SA, Department of Education in the Limpopo Province, De Beers Mines, and lastly we were honoured with the presence of the reigning Miss Earth South Africa, Matapa Maila who happened to sit next to yours truly during the ceremony!! More importantly though, she is from Limpopo Province, which I think meant a lot to everybody, especially the learners.
All the speakers stressed the importance of community upliftment through education, especially environmental education.
The highlight of the day for me was listening to the learners recite poems they wrote for the day. They all sounded convincing; in addition their attitude showed that from then on there would be no going back. The learners also showed us some of the objects that they made from recycled materials, pictured below.
Later during the day, best performing schools and educators were given awards for their hard work towards environmental education.
Although this is not directly relevant to the leopard research, I hope in the future I will have the opportunity to present the leopard work to the learners.
Judging by the distance between me and the nearest person I must have been wearing my leopard perfume!
I would like to thank Cathy Dzerefos of Eco-Schools Limpopo Province for inviting AWF to the ceremony.
Joining AWF in 2007, Nakedi is the latest addition to AWF's team of species researchers in Africa. Working in the Limpopo region, where he's from, Nakedi's studying the great cats to shape conservation strategies that will benefit communities he's known all his life. Looking at Nakedi's focus areas as a zoologist – Cytogenetics, Molecular Biology, and Geometric Morphometrics – it's easy to see he is serious about conservation. Leopards as a species especially interested him because they are both powerful and elusive – making it a challenge to study and protect them.
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