38 members of the Mpop Kidz Club, an initiative of the Mpophomeni Conservation Group, started the school holidays with heaps of fun at the Umgeni Valley Open Day. Everyone had their faces painted in colourful designs before watching Pat McKrill unpack his snakes – including a very big python. Then it was off to the recycling centre where Ayanda Lipheyana explained how it works and what can be recycled. Everyone read the information labels and peeped curiously into the bins while Ntombenhle Mtambo, facilitator of the Club, was delighted to find many useful resources amongst the things others had thrown away. Then it was time to turn waste into something useful. Each child created a birdfeeder from a 2litre plastic bottle and made seed stars (also for the birds) to decorate their gardens at home. The grasslands full of flowers were a hit as was the big Yellowwood tree – which everyone had heard of before – but never seen. Everyone was fascinated by the kraal, with a traditional food storage pit in the centre, and the culturally important Ziziphus mucronata (umlahlankhosi) tree planted on the edge. Sandile Msomi said “This is my first time to see these things. This is my Christmas present.” After a picnic under the trees, and a few more games, Ayanda Mnikathi could not resist doing a little dance of joy which attracted many onlookers. “What a great community occasion this was,” commented Ntombenhle “with families and kids and everyone joining in. The WESSA staff were all so friendly and helpful too.” She said the kids were really proud to be wearing their bright Mpop Kidz Club badges which other visitors noticed and commented on. “It made them feel special.” She concluded. Many thanks to N3Toll Concession for supporting the Mpophomeni Conservation Group and Mpop Kidz Club through the Midlands Conservancies Forum.