We are Western Leopard Toads. Our names are Stripey, Spots and Mike. We like to breed at Princess Vlei because it has a lot of water, food and plants. There is food for us, like snails, bees, water beetles and bugs. There are places for us and our tadpoles to hide - in the mud, in the reeds and under stones. But we don’t like the litter here, because our tadpoles and toadlets might eat it by mistake, which will make them sick.’
These were the observations of one group of young scientists at our ‘Boats and Toads’ event in November this year.
Forty-five children from Levana, Harmony, Hillwood and Muhammedeyah Primary came to Princess Vlei to spend an afternoon observing the Western Leopard toads in their habitats. They explored the surrounding area from the perspective of a toad looking for a place to breed. The children also got an opportunity to observe toad habitats from the water, thanks to the team from Gravity Adventures, who enables the learners to experience canoeing on the vlei.
The canoeing was a great hit, especially as many of the learners had not experienced this before. When not canoeing, they explored the water’s edge and found many interesting life forms, including toads, a crab, water beetles, dragon flies and dragonfly nymphs, fingerlings and a variety of birds.
A week later, the learner’s met up again at Levana Primary, for an artistic activity to consolidate the learnings from their field trip. Each learner made a toad sculpture out of clay, and painted a habitat on a plate with mixed media. This provided a place for their toads.
This was a great all round activity, exercising young minds, bodies and creativity; giving youngsters a safe but exciting time in nature; bossing their self-esteem through their creations; and promoting a love and understanding for the wild creatures at Princess Vlei, insight into what they need to live, and why we should treasure them.
Thanks to the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust managed by Nedbank Private Wealth, for funding our environmental education programme; to Gravity Adventures for supplying canoes, life jackets, and a great team; and to Levana Primary for generously making their school hall available. And, as always, a huge thanks to the teachers who give up their time to make these programmes possible
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.