Boats and toads adventure project at Princess Vlei

Harmony Primary Grade 6 pupils are pictured, from left, Keenam Sikenaris, Jade Andrews and Rushin Plaatjies.

Excitement filled the air when primary school pupils attended the Princess Vlei Boats and Toads event, recently.

The event was held in partnership with Gravity Adventures, to raise awareness about and appreciation for leopard toads.

Bridget Pitt, spokesperson for Princess Vlei Forum, said: “Forty pupils from Lotus River and Harmony Primary attended. They were given worksheets about the leopard toad, completed an activity and answered questions about habitat, size, life cycle and threats. They then looked at photographs of a toad and modelled a life sized clay toad based on these. The pupils also visually decorated the toad habitat.”

Lotus Primary School teacher Priscilla de Wet said the pupils couldn’t stop talking about the event. “They were in and out of my class wanting to talk and get photographs,” she said.

Ms Pitt said while one group was busy with the toads, the others went onto the water. “Gravity Adventures facilitators showed the pupils how to paddle, and gave them some practice on land. They were strapped into life jackets, and off they went. A few pupils had a good opportunity to study toad habitats and breeding grounds when they landed up in the reeds.

“Western leopard toads have recently expanded their breeding grounds at Princess Vlei, and we hope that we will get more toad activity as we improve the environmental health of the area.”

Ms Pitt said the forum is busy with a project with older pupils to monitor toad movements at the vlei and in surrounding private gardens, and to raise awareness of the need to protect these animals.

“Toads are on the move, and we’d like to invite any local residents to inform us of toad sightings, or if you have heard them at night.

“A huge thanks to Gravity Adventures for making their canoes, life jackets and facilitators available, and enabling the children to have such a wonderful time on the water, and also to the teachers who brought the children to the vlei,” said Ms Pitt.