To the butterfly of Princess Vlei Thank you for standing out so beautifully. You make me feel happy when I catch a tiny sight of your beautiful wings. I promise I won’t destroy any flowers - Caithlin Davids Zeekovlei High School
These messages were written by learners to express their gratitude to the creatures of Princess Vlei, during the World Wetlands Day event on February 3. Nearly 200 learners from Lotus High and Zeekovlei High attended the event, which was hosted jointly by the Princess Vlei Forum (PVF) and the Western Cape Wetlands Forum (WCWF).
The Greater Princess Vlei Conservation Area is one of many important urban wetlands in Cape Town. An important part of the Princess Vlei Forum’s mission is to foster a love of the wetland and nature amongst our younger residents. The day offered learners many opportunities to experience the biodiversity at the vlei.
The Western Cape Wetlands Forum is devoted to sharing information and expertise for the protection, management and restoration of wetlands in the Western Cape. It is supported by the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Water and Sanitation; Cape Nature, City of Cape Town, among others.
Learner were welcomed by Margo Adonis, the Miss Earth South African Ambassador. Adonis told learners that the older generation had failed them by failing to take proper care of the environment. The children were also welcomed by Denisha Anand (Princes Vlei Forum) and Kate Snaddon (Western Cape Wetlands Forum).
The learners were divided into groups, and rotated between six activity stations, which each gave them a different way of experiencing the wetlands.
A highlight for all the learners was the opportunity for a short canoe ride – this was provided by Gravity Adventures. After kitting up in life jackets and learning some principles of paddling, the children set out for a short paddle on the water – for many their first experience of being on a boat.
Speaking afterwards, Shafiek Isaacs of Lotus High School said, ‘The learners really loved the event – it was a great way to give them an experience of Princess Vlei and to learn something about the wetlands. So many of them now want to sign up with our eco-club.”
Sponsors for the event include the WWF-SA; Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, managed by Nedbank Private Wealth, which funds the Princess Vlei Forum’s educational program; Abenaki Spur Steak Ranch and the Grassy Park Spar. Shoprite donated stationery packs to participants.
Huge thanks to Shaddai Daniel-Harris & Phillip Frenzel for initiating and co-ordinating the event with the Princess Vlei Forum. Thanks also to all the many other volunteers who helped with the event.