The Chief Executive Officer of South African National Parks (SANParks), Dr David Mabunda launched the second phase of the SANParks Kudu Green School Initiative (KGSI) - an environmental programme started in 2010 that is targeted at the urban school going children in the Pilanesberg National Park today.
The weekend camp (08 - 10 June 2012) in Pilanesberg National Park was attended by a total of 96 learners and 14 educators from schools in Gauteng and North West province. This initiative strives to enable learners of all ages to gain an understanding of climate’s influence on society as well as appreciation of the environment they are living in, said SANParks CEO, Dr David Mabunda.
He said climate change is such a topical issue at the moment but most people do not even know what it is all about, least of all young people. “This will be a perfect platform for them to learn, conceptualise and interpret this phenomenon.”
“The future of our environment lies in the ability of our youth to understand their local and global environments and the issues that impact negatively on our world. The sustainability of our natural environment and ecosystems can not only be left to existing legislation and policies; we also need to invest in the knowledge and development of our future leaders who will take the responsibility of advancing such policies.”
He said the reasons behind the selection of the schools in urban areas was that urban based schools, especially those in previously disadvantaged communities, have had minimum or no exposure to national parks, awareness of conservation issues and opportunities in the environmental field because an area such as Gauteng has no national park… “and to us as custodians of conservation the best way to get young people to understand and have respect for the environment in conservation areas is to start by making positive and visible changes in the environments where they live.”
According to Dr Mabunda, SANParks has achieved sterling results in the environmental education programmes. “To date SANParks has hosted about 22 808 participants in the various national parks. About 95% (21 633) of these learners and 5% (1175) were educators. This is a clear indication of a role that an organisation such as SANParks can play in the lives of many young learners and educators.” The camp will run for three weeks and over 300 learners and 40 educators would have been exposed to this dynamic programme on climate change.
The various parks actively engage with communities to build capacity and assist communities to conceptualise, develop and implement sustainable projects in their communities. This has been happening in large scales in communities adjacent to national parks which are mostly rural, said Dr Mabunda.
He said despite all these exciting developments in rural areas, urban areas have benefitted less from these programmes. “It is therefore imperative for us not to ignore the potential impact one can have by targeting the young ones in the urban areas.”
KGSI is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and endorsed by the Basic Education Department and its provincial counterparts.Issued by:
SANParks Corporate CommunicationsMedia Enquiries:
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
GM: Media Liaison & Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 012 426 5203 / 073 373 4999