Local learners pledge to care for our forests

Proud to play its part in creating awareness about the importance of protecting our environment, the Amakhala Foundation celebrated World Environment Day 2018 on 5 June by hosting an Educational Day at the Amakhala Conservation Centre for Grade 1-3 learners from neighbouring schools.

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World Environment Day is the United Nation's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. It began in 1974 and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries.

The main theme of Amakhala’s Education Day was “Forests” and learners from Sidbury Primary School and Alexandria Christian Academy learnt, in a hands-on and fun way, about the importance of our forests and the devastating consequences of deforestation.

The learners were first introduced to the term “deforestation” and played Amakhala’s own version of the popular children’s game “Stuck in the Mud”. In the game, learners with green stickers represented trees and had to run around the field to avoid being caught or ‘cut down’ by learners with red stickers, representing chainsaws. If the ‘trees’ were caught by the ‘chainsaws’, they had to ‘freeze’ and wait for the learners with blue stickers, representing water, to save them by climbing under their legs. 

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The learners also learnt more about deforestation with fun activities such as identifying forest sounds in a video and lively discussions about forest animals, habitat destruction and the importance of forests. A pot plant experiment powerfully demonstrated how trees protect the soil, while a drawing activity vividly brought to life the stark difference between flourishing forests and deforestation.

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The children also learnt about the Cape Parrot, an endangered forest species, and made a “chatterbox” with fun facts about these beautiful birds. In an “Amazing Race” game, the kids raced against each other to complete challenges, each of which allowed them to “save” a forest animal. At the end of the day, everyone came together to make a pledge to care for and protect our forests. Everyone’s hands were painted green and their handprints were left on a wall at the Amakhala Conservation Centre to commemorate their pledges.

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“The Amakhala Foundation is proud to have played our part in World Environment Day 2018, by raising awareness in our local community about the importance of forests and the urgency of protecting these precious resources,” says Tammy Smith, Environmental Educational Coordinator of the Amakhala Foundation. “The children had a wonderful time and also gained practical knowledge about how essential forests are, not only for the survival of forest animals, but also for human survival.”

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