Thursday, 09 June 2011 18:42

Gladys Khangwayini Mashinini

Gladys Khangwayini Mashinini

Gladys Mashinini, an EarthCare team leader with Ecolink, an NGO involved in a garden/nutrition project to train rural people in the benefits of home gardens and the ways in which waste can be recycled and utilized there.

The teams visited the communities daily and using brochures, simple illustrations and community participation to educate the people, enabled the community to learn how to improve their nutrition, reduce household waste by recycling and save money.

Monday, 23 May 2011 17:44

Robert John Filmer

Robert John Filmer

Robert Filmer is an enthusiastic and dedicated nature conservationist who has made a considerable contribution towards making nature more accessible to other people. However, unlike most other conservationists, Robert is disabled. He is a diabetic with renal failure and has lost his eyesight. Losing his sight has made Robert acutely aware of the inaccessibility of the natural environment to handicapped people. He believes that facilities for the disabled or the blind to experience nature first-hand are essential in order to enrich their lives and to spread an awareness of nature conservation. Convinced that there is a dire need for a national strategy to research and disseminate information, he set about working towards this goal with everything within his power.

Robert organized and participated in two camps for blind people and he initiated a fully accessible 180-metre trail for the blind and handicapped. Furthermore, he has written articles about ecotourism for the disabled and has given various radio talks on the subject. He has also written a report on environmental education and the disabled.

Robert Filmer is a brave and resourceful young man who has not allowed his disability to stand in the way of his goals. While overcoming great physical disabilities, or perhaps because of them, Robert has put other people's education about the natural world at the forefront of his endeavours.


Sunday, 22 May 2011 23:21

Trees for Africa

Trees for Africa

Trees for Africa (TFA) is the only national greening organization in the Republic of South Africa that facilitates community owned projects.

Funds are raised from corporations, funding organizations and citizens to assist in the improvement of the quality of life in the townships, curb soil erosion in rural areas, and create environmental awareness. Since its formation, TFA has planted almost a quarter of a million trees at 1,000 events throughout the country.

TFA promotes education, training and youth development through educational workshops and tree planting projects. TFA continues to expand its activities and receives numerous requests daily for assistance from community groups throughout southern Africa. Although it is strong on grassroots involvement, TFA would not survive without the generous support of sponsors. Corporations, small businesses and individuals have given money, goods and expertise that have been pivotal in its work.

According to the Department of Environment Affairs, eight million tons of fuelwood will be consumed annually in the Republic South Africa by the year 2000. Thirty per cent of the population relies on fuelwood as the main source of energy and growing trees for fuel is desperately needed to take the pressure off indigenous trees.

 

Sunday, 22 May 2011 22:58

Robert D. Dyer

Robert D. Dyer

Robert Darren Dyer is a member of the South African Wildlife Society and of his school's conservation club project "Catchment Conservation in the Umhlatuzana Basin".

He has received the following awards: Conservationist of the Year Award (Wildlife Society); National Audi Innovators for the Environment Award; M-Net Green Trust Award; Winner of Natal Bisonbord Environmental Symposium; Winner of National Enviro OK Youth Symposium.

His project's aim is to: plant vegetation on the banks of all the Umhlatuzana catchment rivers; remove alien invader plants and replace them with indigenous species; educate user groups to conserve top soil; establish Umhlatuzana catchment conservancies; uplift the using standards of less fortunate communities.

He is involved in awareness campaigns via lectures, exhibitions, posters, public addresses, publications, radio and TV programmes, brochures and competitions and in 1993 he established a youth club, involving more than 100 pupils from at least 12 schools. He holds bi-monthly "river days" and attends awareness weekends at selected nature reserves.

He established a nursery on school grounds; repaired degraded river banks along an 87 km stretch of the Umhlatuzana river and its tributaries. He holds monthly meetings to identify problems and works on joint solutions so that communities become empowered by their own achievements.


Green Machine Nature Conservation Club


The achievements of the Green Machine Nature Conservation Nature Club run by the Sunridge Primary School have to be seen in the light of the fact that it is managed by students belonging to one of the most under-privileged sections of the Republic of South Africa's society. Greening of the environment has gone along with efforts to improve the living conditions of the people. The first project aimed at uplifting the impoverished and informal settlements in and around the Knysna district. The Club organized workshops for the youth addicted to narcotics as well as soup kitchens for the hungry. Since the informal settlement is situated around a dumping site, a system was set in motion to exchange food packets for recyclable materials. This not only helped clean up the area, but also assisted the community in supplementing its income. For the second project, the Club created an indigenous park in the grounds of the school. As part of the project, the Club supplied trees to other schools in the area and helped another create its own indigenous park. Their third project was a campaign against waste, encouraging recycling. This was run concurrently with a campaign to enhance environmental awareness. Waste paper recycling bins were taken to businesses in the district and companies were asked to sign a pledge to recycle office waste paper.
Sunday, 22 May 2011 22:50

Humphrey Bheki Mvula

Humphrey Bheki Mvula


The achievements of the Green Machine Nature Conservation Nature Club run by the Sunridge Primary School have to be seen in the light of the fact that it is managed by students belonging to one of the most under-privileged sections of the Republic of South Africa's society. Greening of the environment has gone along with efforts to improve the living conditions of the people. The first project aimed at uplifting the impoverished and informal settlements in and around the Knysna district. The Club organized workshops for the youth addicted to narcotics as well as soup kitchens for the hungry. Since the informal settlement is situated around a dumping site, a system was set in motion to exchange food packets for recyclable materials. This not only helped clean up the area, but also assisted the community in supplementing its income. For the second project, the Club created an indigenous park in the grounds of the school. As part of the project, the Club supplied trees to other schools in the area and helped another create its own indigenous park. Their third project was a campaign against waste, encouraging recycling. This was run concurrently with a campaign to enhance environmental awareness. Waste paper recycling bins were taken to businesses in the district and companies were asked to sign a pledge to recycle office waste paper.
Sunday, 22 May 2011 22:39

Second Creek Environment Project

Second Creek Environment Project

A few years ago, a squatter camp in East London was just another casualty of burgeoning political strife and unemployment in South Africa. It was a crude configuration of shacks amidst a wasteland of broken bottles barely distinguished from the adjoining municipal rubbish dump. Today, this settlement is ship-shape. The shacks are immaculately painted. The grounds are spotless and a vegetable ground dominates the area. This transformation is largely due to the work of children, specifically pupils of John Bisseker Secondary School. This is their biggest success story.

The school has been involved since 1991 in the Second Creek Environment Project. Starting with a small group of only 15, the project has now grown to encompass a human settlement of nearly 1,000 people. The Project's areas of involvement include monitoring the condition of the Second Creek river, regular clean-up campaigns, sorting of garbage for recycling, planting of trees and halting soil erosion. The group also assists the squatter community with food, conducts first aid courses and holds regular "enviro-clinics" to educate parents and children on environmental matters.

This project has inspired many individuals and organizations, both locally and further afield, to become involved in enhancing their environment. The squatter community has also benefited greatly from this association. The project won the Department of Education and Culture Environment Competition in 1991 and 1992.



Wednesday, 18 May 2011 17:01

Theo Manuel

Theo Manuel

Theo Manuel has been working on an environmental project with a local community in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Cape Town. He is largely responsible for the rehabilitation and management of the Wolfgat Nature Reserve which comprises a strip of coastal vegetation with a representative patch of fynbos plants. Much, if not most, of this region is threatened with habitat destruction. The Reserve of 248 ha, the second largest in the area, is located between two townships comprising 1.5 million people, and the pressures of human numbers and poverty are acute.

After its establishment 10 years ago, the Reserve became steadily degraded. More than 200 plant species and a number of animal species are largely endemic to the area. The `saving' of the Reserve is entirely Manuel's doing, and reflects an exceptional degree of initiative and leadership on his part. He has rehabilitated and developed the Reserve in a manner that benefits the community.

Manuel's accomplishment is all the more notable because he is disabled from a spinal cord injury, and finds difficulty in simply walking around with crutches. He has shown a high degree of professional commitment and personal courage. He is an example to his peers, and as a Cape `coloured' he has bridged an ethnic gap between several communities.

His project is well known in the Republic of South Africa and he has inspired other individuals and groups to look at their own urban landscapes to find ways of protecting their environmental resources.

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 01:47

Anne Mearns

 

Anne Mearns


Anne Mearns has worked for more than 15 years to improve the environment of her community. In September 1982, she established Wilger Veld and Youth Conservation Clubs in approximately 50 schools throughout South Africa. From 1982 to 1997, more than 6,000 children joined the Club whose membership has expanded to include branches in England and other countries in Africa. In 1989, she began a tree-planting project through which more than 5,300 trees have been planted to date. The same year, she contacted the Council of Benoni to rehabilitate the Bullfrog pan, which was filled with rubbish - at a cost of more than Rand 5 million. The pan is back to its normal status and she and the youth saved some 50,000 bullfrogs from tarred roads and put them back in wetlands.

In 1990, she organized a Wetland Symposium for councils in Gauteng Province, which was attended by some 300 people. In 1992, she began a community vegetable garden project in the townships. In 1996, Mearns wrote an environmental policy for the Greater Benoni City Council. In January 1997, she completed a management plan for two wetlands, and in April, she established the Greater Benoni Environmental Society.

She has appeared on numerous TV and radio programmes and ahs been profiled in several newspapers and magazines. She is the recipient of a number of awards including the President's Trophy from Keep South Africa Beautiful, the Visionary Award from the Benoni Aurora Rotary Club, and the Van Ryn Rotary Award for service above self.

Water Partnership Project Eastville Primary School & John Graham Primary School

The Water Partnership Project began in 1997 when Eastville and John Graham Primary schools in South Africa embarked on the "2020 Vision for Water Schools Project". Via this project, initiated by the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, schools around the country are ensuring that water resources are protected. The focus is for students to carry out water audits in their schools and homes, as well as of local rivers and lakes. In 1998, the project was implemented in 3,000 schools nationwide, and these two schools embarked on a unique partnership where they learn from each other and which now serves as a role model for other schools. Eastville, located in a poor Cape Town suburb with high unemployment, began with a community garden and a water quality audit. The school's garden involves 200 jobless persons and provides 200 families with vegetables. The garden is also used to produce cut-flowers, which are sold to buy educational materials and to finance the school's water bills. They succeeded in including agriculture in the school's curriculum and inspired similar projects in more than 20 schools and by several NGOs. John Graham School, located in a middle class suburb, helped water saving initiatives become part of their curriculum and based on their project, a national school water policy has been developed which will be the basis for water saving activities in schools participating in the 2020 project. The schools are exploring projects dealing with energy, waste and water quality in rivers.