The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) invited Landmark Foundation during March 2015, to participate in an education program on the Jobs for Carbon Project. Vanwyksdorp Primary is a rural school in this small town of the Little Karoo and was chosen for this pilot project.

This collaborative partnership, as consulted with Landmark Foundation and adopted by the GCBR, forms part of Landmark Foundation’s Green Projects, which aims to establish “Green Clubs” at schools. The establishment of these clubs will form an important part of changing communities and their attitude toward the environment, workin g with a small group of learners within a school will grow and expand outward into the community and into the environment.

The program will endeavour achieve its outcomes by transferring SKILLS, imparting KNOWLEDGE, changing ATTITUDES and instilling VALUES.

This four pillars are there to make sure that there is a lasting and more holistic approach to education. The learner will have gained a true development of the love for nature as well as understanding his/her own relationship with the environment. “The environment is not something out there; the environment starts with you in it”.

A Green Club called the GREEN BUTTERFLIES was established in May 2015 at the Vanwyksdorp Primary School. The Green Butterflies are manage by a committee of learners consisting of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, treasurer, the  leaders of the different teams and a media team, all democratically elected. These leaders were trained in the basics of leadership, how to conduct a meeting, speaking skills and basic principles of communication with learners, adults and the media.

The Green Butterflies are in their second year. The principal Mr Danvil Esau, is keen on continuing with the green club as he has seen the value it has brought to the school. The learners continue to be enthusiastic and have become more aware of their environment.

The program this year will consist of creating opportunities for leadership by providing and setting up mechanisms where learners can become fully involved in leadership roles. This structure will give way for the learners to become active, responsible and take ownership of themselves, their school and their environment. Teams were set up, on an annual two day year planning camp. Followed by a two day workshop where learners were trained into the new structure.

The teams focus on clean bathrooms, media centre, information boards, waist control and recycling, botanical garden, food gardens and greeters - who greet learners as they come to the school in the mornings. Also on the program is Arbor day, when each learner will plant a spekboom or tree, and a River clean up.

Learners will earn Green Points and those with the most Green Points will be rewarded with a visit to a Game Lodge at the end of this year.

The learners, the potential students of the Vanwyksdorp Development Institute and the leaders of the future, have become considerate to each other and the environment.

This collaborative partnership is run by Monica Vaccaro, who runs the education program of Landmark Foundation, and Andre Britz, who runs the environmental education program of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve.

Andre Britz

Director: Environmental Education (GCBR)                                                                           

The Green Butterflies, Van Wyksdorp Primary, 2016

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