Welcome To The Most Wonderful Classroom In The World

By Amukelani Nkuna


To identify, monitor and taken actions on environmental problems, the Marula region's People and Conservation department of the Kruger National Park hosted advanced in-depth teacher training workshops to help teachers prepare for their class visits to the Park.

The workshops were held at Sand River Bush Camp next to Skukuza. Three workshops were conducted for a period of three days per workshop. Amukelani Nkuna, environmental interpretation education (EIE) officer for Berg en Dal and Miyelani Mhlari, EIE officer for Skukuza office, with the assistance of Tshegofatso Raborifi, John Mahlaola, Martha Kadiege, Grace Shoba, and Eliot Shilote, EIE students, Jane Mabasa, Edward Manganyi, and Richard Mhlongo, EIE assistants, facilitated the workshops.

The first workshop was from February 11 to 13 with the last workshop from February 25 to 27, 2008.
Schools from the Nkomazi area and Bushbuckridge were twinned together. The following schools participated: Mtimandze, Chayaza, Mdzili, Makhosana, Mbhunu, Hlomani, Mabarhule, Inkomazi, Madiba, Skhwahlane, Mahlatsi, Samora Machel, Madlala, Lovunywa and Mandondo (all high schools) as well as Mlaba, Babati, Moduping, Alexander, Luthango, Kwa-Jelusa, Homuzeya, Dyondzekani, Mapaleni, Ekuphumuleni, Masibonisane, Mketse, and Hundzukani (all primary schools)

The aims and objectives of the workshops were:

  • To promote public participation in caring for the earth by working with schools and community groups.
  • Offer courses that work towards assisting educators and learners with pertinent information, experiences and action-taking abilities.
  • To assist in improving the liveliŽhoods and quality of life of local people
  • To ensure the wise use and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems
  • To empower educators to make their own decisions about the wise use of their natural resources.
  • To enhance understanding and awareness of environmental issues through participatory learning opŽportunities in line with the national education curriculum.

The workshops assisted the educaŽtors in promoting awareness, underŽstanding, interest, appreciation and action through environmental educaŽtion processes and interpretation.
Educators were offered presentaŽtions on Park-based environmental education programmes, global warmŽing, why we have national parks, the history of Kruger, eco-schools and the role of educators.
A follow-up support programme to the participating schools and regular check-ups, which will encourage other schools to improve, will be done by the EIE officers.

The role of educators, together with some examples of environmenŽtal education activities that educators could carry out at schools to demŽonstrate competence in the different roles will help educators to start acŽtion projects such as greening at the respective schools and communities.

In conclusion, Amukelani encourŽaged the participants with these words, "We are all citizens of South Africa and live on this land, therefore we are all responsible for our environŽment, we must be proud of South Africa and make the right choices for our land. An environmentalist is anyone and everyone who appreciŽates and works for a better natural environment, you can choose to become an environmentalist in a way you live your life"

"Kruger is your park, and it is the most wonderful classroom in the world. It is our privilege to help you make use of it. I would like to invite all educators and schools to make use of this opportunity. This is your park as much as it is anyone else's and we would like to help you make use of it in a constructive way."

The first workshop was from February 11 to 13 with the last workshop from February 25 to 27, 2008.
Schools from the Nkomazi area and Bushbuckridge were twinned together. The following schools participated: Mtimandze, Chayaza, Mdzili, Makhosana, Mbhunu, Hlomani, Mabarhule, Inkomazi, Madiba, Skhwahlane, Mahlatsi, Samora Machel, Madlala, Lovunywa and Mandondo (all high schools) as well as Mlaba, Babati, Moduping, Alexander, Luthango, Kwa-Jelusa, Homuzeya, Dyondzekani, Mapaleni, Ekuphumuleni, Masibonisane, Mketse, and Hundzukani (all primary schools)

  • The aims and objectives of the workshops were:
  • To promote public participation in caring for the earth by working with schools and community groups.
  • Offer courses that work towards assisting educators and learners with pertinent information, experiences and action-taking abilities.
  • To assist in improving the liveliŽhoods and quality of life of local people
  • To ensure the wise use and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems
  • To empower educators to make their own decisions about the wise use of their natural resources.
  • To enhance understanding and awareness of environmental issues through participatory learning opŽportunities in line with the national education curriculum.

The workshops assisted the educaŽtors in promoting awareness, underŽstanding, interest, appreciation and action through environmental educaŽtion processes and interpretation. Educators were offered presentaŽtions on Park-based environmental education programmes, global warmŽing, why we have national parks, the history of Kruger, eco-schools and the role of educators. A follow-up support programme to the participating schools and regular check-ups, which will encourage other schools to improve, will be done by the EIE officers.

The role of educators, together with some examples of environmenŽtal education activities that educators could carry out at schools to demŽonstrate competence in the different roles will help educators to start acŽtion projects such as greening at the respective schools and communities.In conclusion, Amukelani encourŽaged the participants with these words, "We are all citizens of South Africa and live on this land, therefore we are all responsible for our environŽment, we must be proud of South Africa and make the right choices for our land. An environmentalist is anyone and everyone who appreciŽates and works for a better natural environment, you can choose to become an environmentalist in a way you live your life"

"Kruger is your park, and it is the most wonderful classroom in the world. It is our privilege to help you make use of it. I would like to invite all educators and schools to make use of this opportunity. This is your park as much as it is anyone else's and we would like to help you make use of it in a constructive way."



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