An experiential training workshop was run for members of the Baviaanskloof Nature Awareness Group between 4th-7th March. The purpose of the workshop was to give these young adults the opportunity learn more about ‘their’ nature… and to boost confidence in being able to share their existing passion and newfound knowledge with school children and community. The weekend was filled with a variety of practical nature-based learning activities. Again, this fun group showed they have something special about them because – for the third time in a row – the weather gods were not only kind…but turned on a show.
Workshop participants were highly appreciative to have guest guides Japie Buckle & Bruce Dell generously share their time and knowledge on Friday and Saturday as the group went into the field and learnt about native and alien vegetation and wilderness guiding/ethics.
What made this even more special was that the severe storm clouds and rain bursts which were making their presence felt across other areas of the Baviaanskloof cleared over to open up a special star-filled night around the fire and under the stars. The next afternoon upon our return we watched vicious electrical storms circle around TerraPi but thankfully ‘only’ leave us with a perfect double rainbow to marvel at.
On Sunday morning, Rob Carelse delivered an engaging tips & tricks session on how to effectively work with tourists. In the afternoon, Matthew Zylstra facilitated a session on the basics of how children learn in nature. This was followed by playful nature awareness activities which the crew can use with children. Introductory training was also given on the use of a GPS and the art of wildlife camera trapping. On the Monday, the Baviaanskjoof Nature Awareness Group used the weekend’s learning to develop and carry-out their first ever educational programme for children. Bo-Plaas primary school visited and were treated to a few hours of nature awareness around the TerraPi.
Workshop participant Noël Isaacs reflects on the weekend:
“The Baviaanskloof Nature Awareness Group was excited to be attending this Nature Education Workshop at Terrapi. When I told Christo Kleinbooi from Sewefontein about the Nature Education Workshop that we will have at TerraPi, I can see that he was looking excited to be at the workshop to learn more about our beautiful environment and how to guide. Chantell was already waiting Thursday night for the transport [even though the Group was leaving on Friday] that will take us to the workshop. The group was looking 100% out for the workshop at TerraPi.
What we did notice once again as a Group on the Friday on our way to TerraPi is that the weather was looking that it will rain and the Group know that we are blessed with weather and that’s the third time when the Group has came together [and the rained has cleared].
For me, it’s always good to do things in the field. I was having that feeling that I can’t wait to be once again in Nature with the group and working with the school kids for me is something I always enjoy it when it comes to Nature and my environment. The things that I feel and notice at the workshop is that when it came to learning about nature then I get that feeling that the time is too short and I feel [I want] to learn more about Nature. The group did mention that as well and it’s a sign for me that Nature have a strong impact on the Baviaanskloof Nature Awareness Group. I think that is part of communication from Nature to the Group because every time when the time is running out then the Group feels too [that they want] more time for having fun in Nature and to learn more about the environment.
The Monday morning with the school kids I was feeling so excited to use my guiding experience to teach the kids about nature. I was having fun with the kids [and] we believe that the kids did learn a lot. We as a group did also learn a lot from Rob, Matthew, Japie and Bruce. I think that what we learn at the workshop we will use it in the future for the people and schools in the communities.”