Using nature to nurture

Back, from left, are Marvin Jutzen, Zahier Noordien, Dawood Mclean, and Curtley Fortune. In front, from left, are Shafiek Isaacs, Daiyaan Abrahams, Damian Hendricks and Curtley Mentoor from Lotus High School.

The Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) has for many years been running programmes through which they teach people to get in touch with nature and how to protect their surroundings and last week the non-profit organisation added to their list of environmental campaigns.

On Thursday December 1 the NPO officially launched their Changing Lives Through Nature Campaign at the brand-new campsite at Rondevlei Island at the False Bay Nature Reserve in Peninsula Road.

The campaign highlight CTEET’s youth programmes, which use the natural beauty in the city to uplift Cape Town’s youth. Fifteen years ago the City of Cape Town partnered with CTEET to run environmental education programmes at the City’s nature reserves for disadvantaged youth.

This programme has expanded into formal training programmes, bursaries and internships and has led to the placement of staff at numerous CTEET-run conservation areas around Cape Town.

Through this programme, interns and students are supported and placed at nature reserves to gain workplace experience – this leads to the upliftment of youth by broadening career opportunities and contributing to the conservation of the Cape’s rich biodiversity.

The new campsite will hopefully see many more children, especially from disadvantaged areas around the nature reserves get involved in programmes, which will help spark a love for nature.

Johan van der Merwe, the City’s Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning said: “We believe that these educational camps and programmes will spark excitement and pride for our city’s natural heritage and bring about a fresh perspective of and a renewed passion for the beautiful natural environment of our city,”

The launch of the Changing Lives Through Nature campaign is also aimed at raising funds for the youth programmes.

Rivaldo de Storie from Pelican Park started at CTEET four years ago through their camps and was immediately taken with what nature has to offer.

“The Conservation Leadership Programme made me a better person and leader. It taught me how to appreciate and love nature, and also other people,” he said. Abongile Madyolo who graduated and got a Diploma in Nature Conservation contributed her success to CTEET. “I’m really so proud of being part of this wonderful organisation that really touches people’s lives. And whatever CTEET has done for me, I want to do it for the children that we have today. That is the influence that I want to give them, because my life was changed by CTEET,” she said.

CTEET chief executive officer Dr Anthony Roberts hopes CTEET and the Changing Lives Through Nature campaign gain more traction to get more sponsorships to provide services to many more youngsters.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature that is on our doorsteps. We hope to be able to give many more that opportunity,” said Dr Roberts.