'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.