In keeping with previous years, Laerskool Touwsranten were invited by Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) to partake in the exciting activities 2016 Wetlands Day had on offer at Ebb and Flow in Wilderness.
The day kicked off with pupils being introduced to the theme for Wetlands Day 2016 – “Wetlands Day – For Our Future”.
Mr Vernon Gibbs-Halls, Specialist: Environmental Management, Eden DM, presented and educated pupils on the importance of Wetlands. In addressing the learners, Gibbs-Halls emphasized that Wetlands are vital for human survival and that it is one of the world’s most productive environments; it is the cradle of biological diversity that produces the perfect habitat for countless species of plants and animals to survive in.
Thereafter, pupils were treated to a presentation and demonstration on Water and Beach Safety by Eden Emergency Services. Learners were taught safety tips, how rip currents work, what to do and who to call in an event of an emergency.
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the day, was the brand new and exciting wildlife show that was presented by the Lunchbox Theatre Group. The creative and dynamic Lunchbox Team used their theatre style presentation to educate and entertain learners through important biodiversity messages.
After breaking into two groups, learners went canoeing under the watchful eye of Muneer Moses, People & Conservation Officer, SANParks, who assisted and taught learners the skill of canoeing and water safety. The alternating group was also treated to a Mini South African Scoring Sheet (SASS) exercise that was carried out by Mr David Papier, Environmental Health Practitioner, Eden DM, who taught the pupils about different types of fish and invertebrates living in the river and how their numbers can determine the health of a river system. Pupils were taken on a guide with Mr Papier to experience and identify the organisms.
The day ended with a delicious lunch, sponsored by Salinas Restaurant, who has been actively involved in committing to social responsibility in Wilderness.
The Ebb and Flow area falls under the Garden Route National Park and constitutes a Ramsar site based on the Ramsar Convention.
Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:
- working towards the wise use of all their wetlands;
- designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management; and
- cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.
Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.