The fourth Northern Cape Marine Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) mini-conference was held in Kleinzee from 18th until the 20th of October. This mini-conference was aimed at providing information and activities
that are Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) aligned and which can also provide additional information in order to assist educators to complement existing knowledge. This mini-conference was attended by 29 members from ten different schools in the Namakwa District; the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC); the Department of Basic Education; the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the Namakwa District Municipality and the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
Erna Groeners who is the Chairperson of the MCEN opened the event with a warm welcome. Anton Meyer, environmental officer at De Beers delivered a presentation on how De Beers is managing the coastal area within their jurisdiction. Other interesting presentations were delivered by DENC coastal management personnel that focused on government perspectives of coastal management, the value of plankton and overfishing.
Conference attendees also engaged in activities, such as having a debate on whether mining should or should not occur at the coast.
Conference attendees were treated to a site visit at mari-culture farms, such as a local abalone and oyster farm. The aim of this visit was to highlight and place the focus on marine resources along the Namakwa coastline. The different operating processes at both abalone and oyster nurseries were showed and explained during the visit.
“Since it was my first attendance at the MCEN mini-conference, I found it to be stimulating and valuable. My wish is that the inland schools also be involved in future conferences in order to spread awareness of the unique Central Namaqualand Coast SKEP geographic priority area.” said Abe Koopman who is the SANBI SKEP Namakwa coordinator.
The conference was a great success, as many participants conveyed they felt it was the best mini-conference they have attended.