Princess Vlei Guardians: We are nature defending itself
Princess Vlei is a place where us as people communicate with each other; where we feel free and come alive when we reach Princess Vlei. Princess Vlei is our second nature and a place where people can come to when we feeling lonely and sad. This place connects us when we feel disconnected."
- Nuhaa Roberts, Steenberg Primary
The local youth have always been at the forefront of the campaign to save Princess Vlei, and continue to be our greatest champions. They have shown themselves to be wiser than some of our civic leaders, and to have the vision of why protecting a space like Princess Vlei is so important for the youth of today and tomorrow.
The youth have been involved in an active program to conserve and rehabilitate Princess Vlei, and have been planting on and cleaning up the vlei for close to ten years. The Vlei provides a place to build friendships, to play, to grow strong and to develop a love and understanding of living things.
In 2018, the Learners of Lotus High formed a club called the Lotus Princess Guardians. The concept of the guardian was eagerly adopted by all our school groups. Since then, many youth have been involved in our guardian projects. These include:
Planting fynbos and clean-ups
Over the years, school learners have planted hundreds of trees and fynbos plants Princess Vlei. Last year, over four hundred Dune Strandveld and Cape Flats Wetlands plants were planted by five schools. The learners came back for follow-up visits to monitor how the plants were doing. This annual planting event is a key aspect of our restoration plan, and gives learners the opportunity to get involved in transforming their environment in a fundamental, positive way.
Citizen Science projects
Learners are invited to the vlei to help gather data on pollinators, leopard toads, flora and fauna. These events include age appropriate science activities. last year, the Lotus High Guardian Club attended an overnight workshop to learn about and gather data on Leopard toads. These projects bring together art and science, as learners express their new scientific knowledge in creative art projects, which help to consolidate their understanding.
The Flight of Dreams project.
For the past eight years, we have been working closely with the Peter Clarke Art Centre, the Jungle Theatre Project, eMzantsi Carnival and a number of other organisations on a joint art project to learn about and celebrate the birds at Princess Vlei. The program includes interactive workshops on key bird species, drama workshops, workshops on puppet making, art exhibitions, teacher workshops and a street parade and performance.
Princess Vlei guardians have also been involved in championing nature in other spheres. They have joined several marches against climate change, and have attended the Greenpop reforest fest.
The Check Point Chase Orienteering event has become a regular feature on our program, and offers a great family outing. In the future, we hope to start a canoe and/sailing club for youth in the area, as well as hosting regular cross country races.
Our programs are open to any interested primary and high school learners. If your school or youth club would like to get involved, please email us.
In 2019, young nature guardians created three giant biodegradable guardian figures. which were hung on high poles at Princess Vlei. They symbolically represent the youth who organise to defend the vlei from pollution and other threats, and who nurture the living things at Princess Vlei. Here, Lotus High learner Damica Fortuin introduces the guardian of the sky.
Feb 3: World Wetlands Day at Princess Vlei
To the dragonfly nymph, thank you for allow us to visit your eco-system.... These messages were written by learners to express their gratitude to the creatures of Princess Vlei, during the World Wetlands Day event on February 3. Read More
Dec 12: Seeking Toads
We know a lot more about toad activity around Princess Vlei, thanks to the members of the Lotus Princess Guardian Club who attended the overnight Western leopard Toad Camp at Princess Vlei Eco Centre. Read More
Nov 26: The Princess and the Pollinators
The children of Buck Road Primary made some wonderful discoveries about pollinators at Princess Vlei. Read More
June 11: Today we are planting wolves
This was the message from restoration consultant Alex Lansdowne at the planting event on 11 June.. Read More