"Tell them and they might forget. Show them and they might remember, but involve them and they will understand." Confucius
To grow a green generation is an investment in the future well-being of planet earth and is what the the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (KPNR) aims to do through its Children's Eco Training Programme (CET).
Through CET it seeks to inspire within the youth – the leaders of tomorrow – a greater overall appreciation of nature's importance in all its intricacy. The CET courses for children from within the community surrounding the central greater Kruger Park take place during the school holidays. Over a period of four days, some 220 children between the ages of six and 16 complete four, ‘Day in the Bush' training sessions. "The objective is to impart a basic understanding of ecology, why it is important and the significance of retaining our country's wilderness areas," says Zani Kunz, co-ordinator of CET.
The programme involves an ongoing educational process, incorporating the use of the natural bush environment that links with the national education curriculum. Trainers, recruited from various farms within the reserve's employee corps, attend on-going training programmes that qualify them as instructors for the CET courses. Experts from specialist fields are used for more advanced sections of the training of the instructors.
The training is divided into practical and theoretical activities. Critical thinking, problem solving, group work, motivational actions and enthusiasm are core elements addressed in the course. The children leave the day's training with a sense of pride in what they have achieved and a sense of responsibility to their surroundings. "We hope to extend an outreach programme to the neighbouring schools, where we will invite them to a day-in-the-bush and to eventually adopt a school and so spread the message of conservation even further. Our dream is to have a training centre with accommodation so that schools from all over the world can share in the education and preservation of our natural heritage."
Adult literacy and computer training for employees from within the KPNR also form part of the CET educational programme. Following the advice of archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, "Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good that overwhelmed the world." CET is privileged to have support from organisations such as the Mary Slack and Daughters Foundation and other loyal donors support CET on a regular basis. CET is a public benefit organisation and a section 21 company, and therefore completely dependent on sponsorships and donations. "If you want to get involved in this project, call Zani Kunz at 824628252.