This was reported by our thirty young wetland explorers at the Princess Vlei Forum’s Wetland Wizard event on 7 March. The learners, from Buck Road Primary in Lotus River and Hillwood Primary in Lavender Hill, came to Princess Vlei to find out what creatures live in the wetland, and what is needed to create a safe habitat where they can thrive.
The young wizards were invited to transport themselves into the minds of different creatures who live in the wetlands - a galilule, a masked weaver, a chameleon, a dragon fly, a Western Leopard Toad - and to explore whether the area would offer them food and shelter.
The wizards were reminded to pledge to the creatures of the vlei to treat them with care and respect and release them quickly after examining them. They went out to explore, equipped with nets and sample boxes. They discovered many creatures, including dragonflies; a large stick insect; tadpole, small fish, a carp that had been caught by the fisherman. And, most magical of all, a tiny leopard toad with beautiful markings, not much bigger than a fingernail.
A week later, the wizards were back, this time at the Princess Vlei Eco-centre. Hillwood couldn’t make it, but we had some wetland enthusiasts from Harmony Primary in Retreat to join the Buck Road team. We explored how in wetlands, as in any eco-system, leaves form the foundation of the life. We discussed how leaves can convert sunlight into food through the process of photosynthesis. This idea was used to inspire artworks in which learners created beautiful images with leaf rubbings. They used wax-crayon for the rubbings, and dye to colour over. This gave them an experience of texture, colour and composition.
Once again Nature and Art teamed up with the Forum to give these learners a beautiful, wholistic and creative experience. Thanks to Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust managed by Nedbank Private wealth for funding part of our education program.