AWF was once again invited to the WESSA/WWF Eco-Schools Limpopo Province Green Flag Award Ceremony held in Polokwane on Friday January 22nd. Just like last year it was a great honour for me to have been part of such a great event. This also means that I must have behaved very well to be given another opportunity to attend the ceremony. It is inspiring to see that there are so many people out there who take conservation to the little ones who would hopefully take the knowledge gained back to their families and who knows, perhaps they can grow up with respect for nature, which they will hopefully pass on to their children...fingers crossed!
Kids were performing poems that showed that they understood the importance of conservation and how people should play their part. Teachers brought their portfolio files and some of the posters that the students had made. Cathy Dzerefos, the Eco-Schools Limpopo Province Coordinator funded by De Beers was at her best form, beaming with pride and her eyes were twinkling with hope that all this work will not amount to nothing.
The Department of Education (Mr N. Kgophong), the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Mr P. Tsheola), the Department of Water Affairs and Environment (Ms M. Molapisane), the Polokwane Municipality (Mr W. Mathumba), Lapalala Wilderness Node (Mr L. Ngobeni) and Birdlife SA (Mr J. Peu) all contributed towards making the day a special one for their schools. Awards were given to schools that had successfully integrated environment into the curriculum and had undertaken an eco-action project. Most impressive were the five schools that have been with the programme for five years and tackled the five Eco-School themes of Resource use, Local and Global Issues, Nature and Biodiversity, Community and Heritage and Healthy Living. They were presented with the International Green Flag:
|Mosesane Baloyi Primary|
|St Patrick Mathibela Primary|
|White Family Home School|
A year behind with four themes were the schools awarded Gold namely:
|Mashamba Presidential Primary|
|Matlou Memorial Primary|
|Mmbara Senior Primary|
|Motholo Lower Primary|
|Samson Shiviti Primary|
In addition 19 schools received the national Green flag for completing three themes in three years, 22 silver awards for two themes in two years and 28 bronze awards for one year and one theme.
This time Ms. Earth-SA was not there, so I sat next to Mr. Joe Peu of Birdlife South Africa; on the day that I left my leopard perfume. Representatives from the Limpopo Government were there and they delivered good speeches relating to the importance of environmental education in schools. Mr. Peu also gave a speech relating to the importance of green living and he was one of the dignitaries along with the government officials handing out awards to the best performing schools.
All in all, Eco-Schools is a wonderful initiative and I hope that it will keep on growing to involve all the schools in the province.
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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