BAKWENA BACKS ENVIRO EDUCATION
Environmental education is important to Bakwena, which manages two major routes that are critical to the economy of South Africa’s northern provinces – the N1 between Pretoria and Bela Bela in Limpopo and the N4 going west from Pretoria to the Botswana border.
Teachers and learners from 21 schools along the Bakwena N1/N4 route are learning about environmental conservation, thanks to a partnership between Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) Eco-Schools programme and the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
Bakwena has supported Wessa’s Eco-Schools Programme for six consecutive years. In addition to raising awareness around environmental issues, the programme provides learners with valuable knowledge and skills about gardening and recycling, which they can in turn teach their families and local communities.
It started in 2013 at five previously disadvantaged schools in Hammanskraal along the N1. The programme was so successful that in 2015 the project expanded to include another five schools in Hammanskraal and in 2017 an additional 11 schools along the N4 route in Moedwil, Swartruggens, joined.
Through the programme, teachers, learners, community members and partner organisations undertake various projects
aimed at improving environmental management at their schools. Some of these projects include saving electricity and water, recycling waste and developing food gardens.
In February the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Urban Conservation team visited three Wessa Eco-Schools in Hammanskraal to celebrate Leap Day for Frogs and teach learners about why the amphibians are such a vital part of the environment.
Following this, the three schools (Reneilwe, Itireleng and Selang primary schools) cleared litter from their local wetlands.
In April, the same team hosted information workshops at the Wessa Eco-Schools in Hammanskraal to provide ecocoordinators with the skills and tools they need to implement various programmes at their schools.
In addition, representatives of the owlproject.org addressed teachers about the Township Owl Box Project, which is aimed at educating learners and teachers about owls and creating owlfriendly environments.
Initiatives at the Eco-Schools in Moedwil, Swartruggens, Groot Marico and Zeerust along Bakwena’s N4 route have gained momentum, and nine schools received awards at a Green Flag award ceremony held in March. Additional initiatives such as the Tags4Pads and Paper4Bread were also adopted with enthusiasm by the schools.