This week our Grade 7s had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Soetwater Environmental Centre where they were taught the importance of Cape Town’s vast biodiversity, biomes and ecology as well as the importance of conserving this splendid valley that we call home.

Fish Hoek’s very own “Mr Lappies” and his associates took the helm in delivering the important message of biodiversity and conservation. “Mr.Lappies” immediately introduced the problem topics to the Grade 7s, that topic being that South Africa is in crisis. With vast regions of South Africa’s biomes being lost to a variety of human and natural factors, our biodiversity is plummeting at an alarming rate. We looked at factors of climate change, overpopulation and pollution.

At first, the learners were very much “stumped” by the enormity of the task. Being shown a Keynote presentation that truly expressed the devastating circumstance of our countries ecosystems, our learners were grasping at straws on how to solve the problem. “Mr Lappies” confronted this issue head-on: the only way to solve the problem is to get involved, to make the change. To quote the legend himself, “Its never too late to make a difference.”

This message was received wholeheartedly and our little legends were keen to get involved. We started by taking a short hike down the beach. The learners were split into groups of three and competed in a bird-spotting competition during the hike. On the route, we had a true opportunity to bask in the vast variety of animal life right on our shores; encountering seals, a multitude of seabirds and evening stumbling across 4 nests made right up on the beach filled with chicks and eggs. 

Seeing how the environment and animal life thrived in such a small region that was made safe as a sanctuary inspired the Grade 7s to make a change. And so, on the hike back, we took part in a “clean up” competition, a small bit of community service, seeing who can remove the most plastic and litter from the beach.

All in all, what a truly remarkable experience, we learnt much and were greatly inspired to make a change to benefit the valley we know and love, after all, “Its never too late to make a difference.”

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