Educating for Wetlands Week
In partnership with the Two Oceans Aquarium, Mdzananda took part in the World Wetlands Day education programme to teach community children about wildlife and companion animals. Starting on World Wetlands Day, Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Education Centre teachers set out with an ambitious goal - an outreach programme to put school children in touch with the wetlands that form the heart of their communities.
The Wetlands Programme visited five schools in Khayelitsha over a span of five days, reaching grade 6's from Kuyasa Primary, Noxolo Xauke Primary, Masiphumelele Primary, Chuma Primary, and Sivuyiseni Primary.
From their schools the children were taken to experience a real wetland - one that was in the heart of their community but which they may rarely have considered a vital part of nature: Khayelitsha Wetlands Park. At Khayelitsha Wetlands Park children were equipped with binoculars and a checklist of wetland macro-organisms that they could expect to see. At this "large scale" they could link the ecosystems they were starting to explore, as part of their school curriculum, to their community and day-to-day lives. Using the provided checklist and guidebook they learned to identify a variety of birds and plants living in the wetland. There was more biodiversity here than they might have expected at first glance! Around 300 children were reached during Wetlands Week. While one group was busy looking at the wetlands, the Mdzananda Animal Clinic volunteer, Ronnie, had a message to share with the other children about the rights of animals, specifically the "Five Freedoms" that govern human interaction with wild, domesticated and tame animals. These are:
Freedom from hunger and thirst
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury and disease
Freedom to express normal behaviour
Freedom from fear and distress