The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), Knysna Branch, concerns itself with environmental conservation and education and awareness issues in the Knysna area.
WESSA raise essential funds particularly for environmental education of less privileged school children and workshops for their teachers through our their GREEN Forum (Garden Route Environmental Education Network). The Eco Schools project aims to involve all schools in practical work to improve their environment in many ways.
Other fund raising is for conservation issues and WESSA's involvement in Environmental Impact Assessment processes, trying to ensure sensible development of our precious natural areas. They work with all the other groups in Knysna who focus on environmental matters as the Knysna Environmental Forum.
WESSA are also involved in the management
of the Brenton Blue Butterfly special nature reserve,
trying to preserve the endangered butterfly from
extinction. Funding goes towards maintenance of
the reserve and ongoing scientific research into
the habitat and life cycle of the species,
Orachrysops niobe. Click here for a brochure about
WESSA and the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve.
WESSA run many school and youth projects:
Forest bird kill
Outeniqua Primary School grade 4's visited the Outeniqua Nature Reserve at the end of the 2nd term where they they were taken out on the Forest Buzzard Trail. The children came upon these feathers which led to a discussion of what, where and how they came to be there.
The Succulent Karoo Environmental Education Project (SKEEP) is 3 fold
50 schools in the Little Karoo watch a puppet show - excellent - introduces them to the Little Karoo plant and animal characters. The teachers then go on a 2 day workshop and visit Minwater Farm, in the Volmoed area. Day 1 is spent finding out about the Succulent Karoo. Day 2 is spent developing lesson plans which focus on these aspects. The 3rd phase brings children from these schools for 2-night camps. They follow the Junior Landcare programme and I put some of the teachers' lesson plans to the test. The outcome is to produce a booklet of 20 tried and tested lesson plans, suitable for carrying out in the veld.
In the Same SKEEP programme boys rubbing rocks to find out how sand is formed.
In the SKEEP project, Children investigate droppings in the Karoo