N3TC Heroes: Uncle Crane
Nomsa is staring out of her classroom window, day dreaming through her teacher’s explanation of today’s mathematics. Suddenly, she breaks into a broad grin and shrieks, ‘Yes! It is Uncle Crane!’ She has spotted Nkanyiso Ndlela proudly riding into the grounds on his new motor bike, which enables him to reach the far flung schools right on time. The children can’t wait for the break bell to ring so that they can greet this popular teacher.
Uncle Crane works in the breath-taking countryside of the KZN Midlands with its rolling hills and picturesque villages, but there is a downside to this idyllic picture. Many of the wetlands and grasslands have not yet recovered from the crippling drought. Some of the rural schools have neither drinking water nor running water in the toilets. Nkanyiso is making a difference. He is the Education Officer of KZNCF (Kwa Zulu Natal Crane Foundation) and works in rural and township schools in the Nottingham Road area. Nkanyiso uses our three indigenous cranes (Blue Crane, Wattled Crane and Crowned Crane) as the perfect tool to educate our youth about important aspects of conservation – like conserving our national bird and looking after our wetlands and grasslands. Every day, he captivates hundreds of school children with songs, dances, artwork and games.
This year, supported by N3TC, Uncle Crane will gently touch the lives of children in eleven local schools. The impact of the Kwa Zulu Natal Crane Foundation is rapidly increasing and the list of partnering environmental organizations is rocketing. Indeed Uncle Crane, we all join Nomsa and shout, ‘Yes! Thank you Uncle Crane!’
Learn more about KZNCF www.kzncrane.co.za
New Nursery and Recycling Centre.
Last month Ntombenhle Mtambo of the Mpophomeni Conservation Group was very pleasantly surprised when the permaculture garden she has created on an old dumping site was chosen as the spot to erect a fantastic seedling nursery. African Conservation Trust (ACT) with National Lottery funding, have been working with MCG during 2015 to establish gardens is schools and homes and intend that the nursery will be able to supply good quality seedlings to keen gardeners in the area. The ACT team of talented and dedicated young men lead by Zimisela Richard Luthuli erected the nursery in record time. Ntombenhle’s daughter Nxolo, who will be running the nursery, started sowing seed right away in preparation for the cooler growing period.
Ntombenhle would like to thank all the volunteers who participated in the journey that has led to the building this incredible Nursery – Hope Majozi, Mzee Buthelezi, Action Ngubane, Mr Mtambo, Pat Draper, Nqobile Omeihe, Hes Hamilton and Bongani who have all helped with various tasks. “The nursery will help us to grow thousands of seedlings to sell to local gardeners and lots of trees, shrubs and groundcovers. We are greening Mpophomeni one street at a time.”
Last year, N3TC funded a simple nursery which will now be converted to a lovely shady area for the Mpop Kidz Club that meets in the garden regularly for activities focussed on water, biodiversity, earth care and gardening. Mpop Kidz Club facilitator Amanda Ntombela is thrilled “Sho, it gets hot in the afternoon, but the kids all still want to come and learn. It will be much nicer to do our activities in the shade.” This year, N3TC is supporting the MCG dream of a recycling centre to help reduce the waste on the streets.
The nursery and garden is situated on the corner of Mhlongo and Stadium Roads, Mpophomeni, the recycling centre is planned opposite the garden. Fresh veggies and seedlings are for sale from the garden. Learn more about this project: www.mpophomeniconservationgroup.wordpress.com
A Meaningful New Way
Once again N3TC are supporting the vibrant and effective Midlands Meander Education Project (MMEP) which was the very first project in their CSI Touching Lives programme that began over a decade ago. This year, the MMEP are putting all the experience they have gathered in local schools over the past 12 years into a whole new way of doing things, all the while supporting schools to nurture capable, confident, curious children who are active citizens, contributing positively to their communities and the environment.
The new schools programme that will replace the Eco-School programme (which has become too expensive) is based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Progress at participating schools will be assessed each term rather than only once a year. The response from the schools has been positive, particularly as they will themselves identify the areas they would like to improve or change. Creative lessons, packed full of Bug Magic, will incorporate maths, reading, writing, wise resource use and technology to support teachers and help learners discover the wonders of the environment and develop their own potential. Already this year, some schools celebrated Read Aloud Day (with children from across the globe), Curry’s Post Primary marked Leap Day for Frogs with happy, hoppy activities about amphibians, at King’s School pupils learnt alternate building methods and set about constructing walls for their outdoor classroom – shouldn’t all children learn how to build their own home?
Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of different learning objectives that educators set for students. It divides educational objectives into three ‘domains’: cognitive, affective and psycho-motor. These are sometimes described more simply as knowing (head), feeling (heart) and doing (hands). Follow this innovative group of nature loving, tree hugging, frog spotting, dog patting, giggling, teacher’s friends who engage meaningfully and effectively with 20 Midlands schools and help thousands of children to blossom! www.mmaep.co.za or on Facebook.