‘I would like to live in a world where… people would get along; the gangsters could not kill anyone; people can take care of nature and each other; no-one can look down to people that don’t have.’
These are the wishes of Shaun Amos (Grade 6) Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill. The Princess Vlei Forum is currently collecting children’s wishes for the world to be part of an art installation to be displayed at Princess Vlei on 16 October.
This forms part of our ‘Dream Weavers’ project to help children learn from the positive connections and relationships in nature, and explore how we can use this knowledge to imagine a more caring and safer world. Schools involved include Hillwood, Levana, Harmony, Primrose Park and Muhammadeyah Primary School, and Lotus High School.
Dream Weavers project will include a display at Grassy Park library on 11 to 15 October, and a celebration at Princess Vlei on 16 October. This will include a short procession with the learner’s artworks through Sassmeer Estate, and a performance of The River of Life by the Jungle Theatre Company.
In art workshops held over the last month, learners painted pictures of various species that they had seen at Princess Vlei in field trips in August. These beautiful paintings will form part of the art installation and library display.
Post by Mea Lashbrooke (WESSA)
Despite the slight but chilly wind that accompanied 25 parents and learners from Herschel Girls Preparatory School Eco Club during an outing to Princess Vlei on this year’s first Saturday in Spring, activities ensured all participants were warm.
After an introduction from WESSA Western Cape Membership who had co-ordinated the event with Margot Roebert, Herschel teacher and Eco Club manager, there was a short explanation by Bridget Pitt and Denisha Anand – representatives of Princess Vlei Forum and dedicated stewards of the Vlei. They spoke about:
Soon the group set to work collecting litter (wind in the area ensures litter arrives from elsewhere, as well as from visitors to the Vlei who enjoy the recreational facilities on offer. It is also washed down the canal that feeds the vlei), planting a hundred-and-twenty Pelargonium Capitatum, a hardy dune strandveld species. The recent rains softened the soil, making this task easy even for little hands. After the planting, the team pulled out several hundred square metres of blue lupins with great enthusiams. These invaders spread rapidly, displacing indigenous plants.
This proved a rewarding morning for all. And some families remained to picnic at the tables provided at the Princess Vlei braai area.
It was clear that learners and parents all had a good time. Several announced it was their first, but not their last, visit to the Vlei. Some even said they hadn’t known of the existence of the Vlei … and there it is set right on Prince George Drive, a few minutes from Muizenberg beaches in one direction and in the other a stone’s throw from Main Road Diep River, Kenilworth Centre and Cavendish Square, with the best views on the Peninsula of the Table Mountain range, most especially Constantiaberg.
'Today we have learnt that plants and animals’ connection is like a web, that’s why they call it the web of life, because the connections are like little relationships between the different things.’
So said Skyler Bowman from Primrose Park Primary, speaking at the Princess Vlei Dream Weavers field trip.
The field trip was the launching event for a two month project called Dream Weavers. The project aims to help children understand how plants and animals use their connections and relationships to survive; and how humans connect to nature positively and negatively. We will then invite them to use this understanding to think about how humans can connect with nature and each other more positively, and how we can together use our connections to weave a better world.
Five primary schools participated in one of three field trips: Levana, Harmony, Primrose Park, Muhammadeyah and Hillwood Primary.
The afternoon began with a game where the learners created a web by standing in a circle and throwing a ball of string to each other, unravelling it as they went. This demonstrated how a web needs lots of connections to be strong.
They then went out with worksheets and species ID charts to observe connections in nature. A highlight was spotting a large land crab. Learners were also fascinated by the weavers weaving their nests over the southern outlet of the vlei.
A group from Harmony Primary deduced some interested connections from their observations:
‘We saw an ant colony where there were baby eggs like little worms. We learnt that ants are scavengers and they also help the environment. They take a seed for example they eat around, and then dig the leftovers underground, then the plant grows. We made a tiny diagram, to show how a bird takes the seed, then maybe drops the seed, then the ant takes the seed and eats around and buries it, then the seed grows into a maybe a sunflower, then we humans can get sunflower oil from the plant ,’ explained Yadah Mkwanda, speaking for the group. The group also found a shell and wondered whether perhaps the sea once covered this ground.
It was wonderful to see how the learners used their observations to make their own deductions about how connections in nature might work - new scientists in the making!
In the words of one of the Levana Primary learners, ‘Today we have learnt so many things are connected in nature such as insects and plants. We have also spotted human objects such as chip packets, lighters etc which is very disappointing. We have learnt so many things. And it was wonderful to be out and exploring nature
Fatima Nordien from Harmony Primary had a special message for the world.
‘We found that people were littering, and say you throw a paper now on the floor, then tomorrow it gets taken to the sea and a bird eats it and dies, so please stop littering and make the world a better place'.
In the weeks to come, learners will create artworks to contribute to giant webs. There will be a celebration on 16 October. Learners will take part in a parade, carrying the webs they have created, and other artworks created over the years, through Sassmeer estate and onto Princess Vlei. There will be a short ceremony to install the artworks, followed by a performance of The River of Life by The Jungle Theatre company.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.