Kinders-in-die-park skop af in Marakele

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SANParke se jaarlikse program om meer blootstelling aangaande die Nasionale Parke se bedrywighede aan die kinders te bied, het die afgelope week in Marakele Nasionale Park by Thabazimbi se Thutong Omgewingsbewustheid Opvoeding Sentrum afgeskop.

Hierdie program wat oor drie dae per groep besoekers strek, teiken kinders van omringende arm skole wat nie toegang tot die Nasionale Parke kan bekostig nie, om aan hulle die belangrikheid van die bestaan van en opvoeding in terme van nasionale parke oor te dra as ‘n kultuur erfenis.
Die leerlinge geniet die geleentheid om die wildlewe op ‘n prettige en ontspanne manier te ervaar. Hier leer hule ook meer van aktiwiteite soos kaartlees, water besparing en die impak van aardverhitting.
Meer as 500 kinders vanuit die Thabazimbi, Vaalwater en Dwaalboom voergebiede sal vanjaar by die program betrek word.

Volgens die Parkhoof van Marakele Nasionale Park, Mphadeni Nthangeni, word daar ook ‘n werkwinkel vir onderwysers aangebied wat hulle deur die hele program begelei en dit wat hulle van die leerlinge kan verwag as hulle terug in die klaskamer is.

Nthangeni het verder gesê dat hulle hierdie projek vanaf SANParke se perspektief baie ernstig opneem en wil hulle nie hê dat dit wat die leerlinge in die park geleer het verlore gaan nie, maar dat die lesse in die klaskamer herhaal moet word.

Die hoogtepunt vir hierdie drie-dag ekskursie in die park was nog altyd die wildritte asook die begeleide staptogte in die park. Die hoogtepunt hiervan is die prysuitdelingsfunksie wat die oggend net voor die leerlinge se vertrek gehou word. Volgens Nthangeni speel die prysuitdelingsgeleentheid ‘n groot rol om die leerlinge se belangstelling te behou en hul samewerking te verkry tydens die aanbieding van die program.

Die program word moontlik gemaak deur die samewerking van SANParke, die Provinasiale Departement van Onderwys asook die Departement van Omgewingsake en Toerisme.
Die jaar se program het op 26 Julie begin en sal duur tot 1 September met ten minste een groep per week wat die program sal deurgaan.

Kids in parks season underway at Marakele National Park

SANParks’ Marakele National Park’s annual kids in park programme started on Wednesday the 26th July at the Thutong Environmental Education Centre. This programme which runs for three days per group aims to expose children from nearby previously disadvantaged schools to the importance of national parks and teach them about the parks as their natural and cultural heritage.

Most, if not all of the learners usually welcome the opportunity to be exposed to wildlife in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. These programmes usually covers map work, water conservation, global warming amongst others and in the end the children are encouraged to be ambassadors of these issues in their schools and communities.

Over 500 learners from areas such as Thabazimbi, Vaalwater and Dwaalboom will get the opportunity to participate in this year’s programme, this is according to Park Manager, Mphadeni Nthangeni who said “Since this programme was introduced to the park we see it adding much value to our learners and therefore feel honoured that although it’s a hectic season but we are able to impart valuable knowledge to the young people in our communities.

Nthangeni was also quick to add that before the kids’ programme, there was a teachers’ workshop which takes all the teachers on the programme and what they should expect from the learners once they are back in the class. “We take this seriously and would not want it to fall by the way, and therefore equip the teachers so that after the say at the Thutong Centre, then they continue re-enforcing the messages in the classroom”.

In the past, the highlight of the three day stay in the park has always been the interpretative drives and bush walks in the Park as well as the Prize giving ceremony which takes place on the morning of departure “The prize giving makes them to be very attentive and participate in the programme and make it worthwhile for the facilitators.” concluded Nthangeni.

The programme is made possible through the partnership that SANParks has with the Provincial Department of Education, Department of Environmental Affairs.
This year’s season started on the 26th July and will run until 01 September with at least a group each week.