HERD visit to Mpisi Primary School and the children showing off their ele art work!
We become successful by what we get, but we become happy by what we give…
We are celebrating the start of a beautiful new journey with our surrounding communities and growing our human HERD. Junior Nursery Carer, Khensani has been leading the way as we build our partnership with Mpisi Primary School close to us in Hoedspruit to join forces and work together in exciting ways that further our dreams to share elephant conservation awareness and sustainability tools and knowledge.
Khensani, HERD Operations Manager Juan, and our two conservation students rolled out our first few activities at Mpisi Primary School. The school has roughly 800 learners from Grade R – Grade 4, while the high school, with Grades 5 – 7, has 1 400 learners.
Our focus for the excursion was to start work with Grade R with a fun Elephant Art project!
The children and teachers welcomed the activity with open arms and the creativity juices started flowing! Juan was dressed up as an elephant (only sometimes mistaken for a mouse) to make the art activity more engaging and fun for the children. The kids all received a ‘Save our Elephants’ sheet to colour in as they saw fit – each sheet included a section with interesting elephant and poaching facts, which we will delve deeper into during our environmental education programme.
This activity was followed by focusing on the Grade 1 classes. The school has cleared a site for a larger vegetable garden, which we are in the process of rolling out. We will require various resources including vegetable seeds to expand on the current garden. Elephant dung will be mixed with the available topsoil to introduce the learners to the importance of elephants in ecosystem and highlight why they are known as being a keystone species, also referred to as ecosystem engineers.
*A keystone species helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or in some cases even cease to exist altogether.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela
We are working on incorporating an environmental education programme with different activities to fit into the existing curriculum for the older grades. Environmental education connects us to the world around us, teaching us about both natural and built environments. Through environmental education we can raise awareness of issues impacting the environment upon which we all depend, as well as actions we can take to improve and sustain it.
We are excited to start the rest of our school projects at Mpisi, which will go a long way in facilitating the children to contribute to recycling, sustainable food production and elephant conservation, with ideas, information and practical knowledge that they can take home with them and practice with their families.