Tag Archives: N3TC

Grand Adventures on Beacon Hill

Grade 5 Thembelihle Outing to Beacon Hill on 19 November 2015

It was a chilly and damp start to the day and the children looked very apprehensive as they arrived at school. A small group of eco club kids rushed over to me and asked if we would still be going (our last date was postponed) and I replied “we go even if it SNOWS“, which had them laughing. We spent the first 10 minutes reorganising into the previously picked teams, distributing bandanas, clipboards and booklets to each team.

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Eve & Dave arrived and we loaded everyone into their vehicles and Leslé, Rejoice, Beverley and I followed in our vehicles. When we arrived on the hill an adult was allocated to each team. After reminding everyone to look for anything tiny and unusual, we set out to climb the hill.

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Immediately, the children were engrossed in finding dew laden spider webs, ants, a porcupine hole and lots of varieties of grasses and flowers. each group went at it’s own pace and each group had a different adult with different knowledge. It turned out that teacher Rejoice was a total star and had grown up near a grassland and she identified lots of flowers and plants not necessarily by name but by use, which was fascinating.

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She also spotted a shed snakeskin wrapped around a plant which we had all missed. On reaching the top of the hill each group was amazed by the view of Howick, Midmar, Mpophomeni and beyond.

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They really enjoyed identifying places and spotting trains moving through the landscape. They also then looked at their maps and tried to figure out the different keys. We took some time to let everyone relax and just ‘breathe’. By the time we reached the beacon everyone was watching where they were stepping, asking questions and being engaged. The weather had changed and it was sparkling sunshine with a light breeze- just perfect! We doled out apples and snacks and the group was allowed some more freedom to enjoy the view and the place.

We finally headed down the hill and back to school and the children settled down to write about what they thought of the day. They really loved the outing and found it amazing that there was such a ‘cool’ place near to their school.

Thanks N3TC (small)

“Today was a cool day, Beacon Hill is a cool place! I saw different plants and flowers and even a crab. We have not seen these before.” – Lwandiswa Shange

“Thanks for an outstanding outing. Much fun, learning, and exploration was had by all the Grade 5 Love Bugs. You guys are superstars” – Beverley Cameron (teacher)

Floater Flock of Craniacs at Crystal Springs Primary

Nkanyiso Ndlela of the KZN Crane Foundation was invited by the Balgowan Conservancy through the Environmental Learning and Leadership Programme, which is funded by N3 Toll Concession, to visit their local school, Crystal Springs Primary, to present a two part lesson from their enchanting Cranes in the Classroom series. There were 62 learners from grade 4 who participated in these lessons on the 6 and 13 July 2015.

The first lesson began with a short presentation about the three South African crane species, namely the Blue Crane; Grey Crowned Crane; and the critically endangered Wattled Crane. The learners were then handed art materials and instructions to make their own unique crane name badges and gave them instructions. These turned out beautifully. The lesson wound down with a story from Wisdom Tales about Mama noHemu and Baba noHemu. The learners were quizzed at the end to ensure that they listened carefully.

Sisanda Ntombela wearing her wattled crane name tag

Sisanda Ntombela wearing her wattled crane name tag

The second lesson introduced more facts about our three special cranes, with Nkanyiso showing them what they look like using pictures and posters. They discovered how threatened our cranes and wetlands are, and how we must treasure them by looking out for them and not poaching or killing them.

Nkanyiso is super dynamic in the classroom and uses pictures to show the learners what our African cranes look like

Nkanyiso is super dynamic in the classroom and uses pictures to show the learners what our African cranes look like

They learnt about the cultural beliefs and traditions associated with the cranes and they were allowed to ask plenty of questions. Thabani Bubele said: “I like the wattled crane more than the other cranes because it’s big”. Thabani is right, as the Wattled Crane can grow to an impressive height of 175 cm (1.75 m), making it the largest crane in Africa and second tallest in the world!

It was time for some more arts and crafts where the children made their own wattled crane masks. This made Thabani very happy, as now he could pretend to be just like his favourite crane.

Thabane Bubele wears his Wattled Crane mask with pride

Thabane Bubele wears his Wattled Crane mask with pride

Now that they all looked the part, they were ready to fill in their Crane Flower worksheets. This worksheet got the learners thinking about what they learnt over the two lessons and were asked to choose keywords represented in bold print from a list of facts below and fill them in the correct crane flower speech bubble.

Nkanyiso finished off with a quick fact about the Strelitzia flower, which comes from South Africa and is the flower emblem of KwaZulu Natal. It is also known as a crane flower because it looks just like the crowned crane.

Great fun was had while filling in their crane flower worksheets

Great fun was had while filling in their crane flower worksheets

Mr Makhathini, an enthusiastic teacher at Crystal Springs Primary, said: “These lessons suit the learners very well. They’re hands on and supplements the CAPS well”.

Balgowan are now home to these lovely craniacs who will love and nurture our country’s stately birds in the future.

 

Sociable Sundowners with the N3TC Birds

On Tuesday 11th August, MCF was privileged to host a visit from N3 Toll Concession in the form of Andrea (Andy) Visser and Thandiwe (Thandi) Rakale. The aim of their visit was to give MCF support and encouragement, so all MCF’s member Conservancies were invited to attend.

Representatives from Balgowan, Beacon Hill, Curry’s Post, Karkloof and Lion’s Bush Conservancies flocked to the Karkloof Conservation Centre where they enjoyed sundowners, snacks, and fruitful discussions with Andy and Thandi in the Crowned Crane Hide.

Front: Andy Visser (N3TC) and Roy Tabernor (Lion's Bush). Back: Karen McGregor (Curry’s Post), Thandiwe Rakale (N3TC), Yvonne Thompson (Balgowan), Eve Hughes (Beacon Hill) and Charlie MacGillivray (Karkloof)

Front: Andy Visser (N3TC) and Roy Tabernor (Lion’s Bush).
Back: Karen McGregor (Curry’s Post), Thandiwe Rakale (N3TC), Yvonne Thompson (Balgowan), Eve Hughes (Beacon Hill) and Charlie MacGillivray (Karkloof)

The N3TC funded projects discussed were:

  • The schools’ projects, in particular the new schools that have been included this year;
  • River walks in 2015: the Indezi River Walk completed in April, as well as the planning for the two river walks in the Karkloof. The latter have a new dimension as landowners and partner organisations will be taking part in the walks;
  • Capacity building for clearing Invasive Alien Plants: This new project was the subject of considerable discussion, particularly in the light of our scarce water resources. N3TC is excited about the MCF strategy of capacity building prior to the implementation of a clearing programme.

There was general discussion on the need to achieve a sustainable balance between human activities (such as development) in Conservancies, and ensuring the preservation of wildlife habitats. The need for partnering between different conservation organisations to maximise efforts was also mentioned.

A pair of Grey Crowned Cranes flew by during our casual discussions.

A pair of Grey Crowned Cranes flew by during our casual discussions, reminding us of what we’re working towards.

MCF is indebted to N3TC not only for funding, but also for their ongoing support and encouragement. The intention is to give all Conservancies the opportunity to host future meetings so that N3TC can meet all our members, and get a feel for the entire MCF area.

Siyabonga N3TC

“Siyabonga” from the bottom of all our hearts N3TC!