On the 17th of July 2013 Conservation South Africa (CSA) donated as part of their SKEPPIES Program a set of five Recycling Bins to the Concordia Primary School, as well as ten Solar Lanterns to Namaqua Outdoor Adventure Services and Training (NOAST). The donation was made possible due to funding obtained from the CitiGroup, an international corporation.
The School and NOAST were deemed worthy beneficiaries because their involvement in the Eco-Schools Program from the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC) fits in perfectly with the vision of CitiGroup, which is that of empowering and educating communities around the globe about the importance of Climate Change and Waste Management, and how best to manage and adapt to these challenges.
NOAST is run by Elvin Saal, a teacher at Concordia Primary School who is also involved in the Eco-School Program. Saal is passionate about nature conservation and a healthy lifestyle. He is also a sports coach, an experienced hiker and runs half marathons, and in his spare time he takes learners from the local schools on eco-adventure tours and camping trips through NOAST.
Children from the community are exposed to team building exercises and healthy physical activities when they go on these outdoor adventure camping trips on his small farm outside the town. An added bonus is that the children get exposed to nature and are taught to value and protect their natural environment. This also aligns perfectly with the motto of Conservation International (CI) that People need Nature to thrive.
Saal says that the Solar Lanterns will add value to his efforts in trying to teach the children about the importance of a healthy and clean environment. They can also use these in their lessons at the Eco-classes to teach the learners about alternative green energy and climate change.
Concordia is situated in the Succulent Karoo, a Biodiversity Hotspot and is one of the many towns in the Namakwa District of the Northern Cape known for its spectacular displays of Wildflowers during Springtime. One of the SKEPPIES project leaders, Earl Muller who owns NAMPetroleum which benefited from funding obtained through CitiGroup, is a past student from this school.
Edie van den Heever, principal of Concordia Primary, expressed his appreciation to CSA and SKEPPIES for the donation. He said that the school is focusing on trying to instil a sense of responsibility in their learners to stop littering and pollution and to recycle waste materials. He predicted that the recycling bins would be filled up in record time and asked for further support from CSA in their efforts to educate and inform the youth about the importance of waste management and recycling.
Ronald Newman, the manager of the Namaqualand Green Economy Demonstration (NGED) of CSA, spoke to the group of learners and teachers about CSA’s work in Namaqualand. Newman informed them of the various programs of CSA and stressed the importance of involving the youth in efforts to manage and adapt to issues such as Climate Change, Conservation, Waste Management and Recycling. He also told the learners that their active involvement was of the utmost importance as they are the future leaders and custodians of our natural environment and heritage.
In a community where there are poor Waste-Management practices, this donation from SKEPPIES / CSA is very appropriate in order to foster a lifestyle of responsible citizenship and caring for the environment. The region is very suitable for the generation of Solar Energy, as it has very short winters and many sunny days in a year. The SKEPPIES team will in future build stronger relations with Concordia Primary and NOAST in order to support and promote the values of Nature Conservation and the Green Economic Strategy of Conservation South Africa.