The future of the birds of Princess Vlei is in good hands, judging by the children who came to save them on Friday 12 May. The children were playing a game in which they were time-travellers from a future without birds, who had returned to 2017 to see what could be done to ensure that birds will continue to thrive.
The event was organised by the Princess Vlei Forum and the Peter Clarke Art Centre, as part of the PVF’s annual Flight of Dreams campaign to raise awareness of the bird life around Princess Vlei.
The learners were from Floreat Primary, Harmony Primary, Levana Primary and John Graham Primary. During the game they explored the vlei for signs of birdlife, and for clues as to what birds need to survive, and what may threaten them.
The game was introduced by art teacher Brendon Bussy, the “Time Lord”, and mastermind behind the concept. Liesl Hartman, principal of the Peter Clarke Art Centre, was a spirit guide who told the children what the vlei had been like many thousands of years ago, when the only human residents were the San. She spoke about how these communities had lived in harmony with the natural environment, and had respected other life forms.
The learners were aided in their discoveries by volunteers from the Cape Bird Club and the Cape Town Environmental Education Centre (CTEET) as well as their teachers. After spending some time exploring the Vlei, they reported back to the group what they had discovered. This was the second activity in the program, and follows a workshop at each school where children researched a bird species and created a poster showing the bird in its habitat.
The Save the Birds game will be followed up with the planting of a bird food garden at Princess Vlei on June 9. Thanks to the Table Mountain Fund for sponsoring the project.