'We don’t want to protect the environment, we want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting.’
This was said by fifteen-year-old Nicole Anthony, from Lotus High, at Princess Vlei on June 15. Nicole was quoting the slogan of their school’s eco-club. Nicole took one step closer to creating this world as she and one hundred other school learners came together to create a bird food fynbos garden at Princess Vlei.
The project was organised by the Princess Vlei Forum (PVF), working with five local schools – Floreat Primary, Levana Primary, Harmony Primary, John Graham Primary and Lotus High School. Some of these schools have been involved for some years in cleaning up and rehabilitating Princess Vlei, others are new recruits.
For the past few months, the children have been learning about the birds at Princess Vlei through interactive workshops and a simulation game organised by the Forum. They have learnt about what birds need, and what threatens them. Planting a food garden gave them an opportunity to help the birds and other wildlife at the vlei, to beautify the area for the community, and to have fun.
Each child wrote their name on a sucker stick and planted it with the plant. They also were given an ‘ID card’ for each plant they planted, with a photograph, the name of the plant, and some information on how it helps the birds.
Over two hundred plants were put in the ground. The plants are all part of the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld system and Cape Lowland Freshwater system. Many of these plants are endemic, threatened or endangered. Restoring the natural vegetation will attract pollinators and feeders, and help to restore the overall environmental health of the vlei while beautifying the area for the pleasure of recreational users. The plants have been selected with special attention to those which provide food for birds, in the form of seeds, fruit, nectar and insects attracted by the flowers.
Fortified with hotdogs donated by Pick n Pay, the children also picked up nine bags of litter and cleared weeds. These kids and the volunteers who helped are really our eco champions, helping to create a beautiful urban space where community and nature can thrive together.
Speaking on behalf of the Floreat Primary, Grade 7 learner Laura Cristovao said, ‘It was so fun coming to plant different types of plant and learn new plant names, and it’s such a good experience for us to come to Princess Vlei. Thank you all the educators.’
The Forum would like to thank all these heroic kids, volunteers from the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust, the PVF, and others, and Cllr Kevin Southgate who was there to help hand out hot dogs and dig holes for the plants. Thanks also to Pick and Pay for donating the food, and the Table Mountain Fund for making the project possible. We are particularly grateful to the many Muslim learners and teachers who worked so hard despite fasting.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.