Since March 2015 WESSA’s Treasure Beach Environmental Education Centre has been supporting Ethekwini Municipality’s flagship adaptation project, the Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Programme.
The programme involves building an indigenous forest in the buffer zone of the municipality’s Buffelsdraai Regional Landfill Site. Initially conceptualised to offset CO2 emissions associated with hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, the project has also delivered several important adaptation benefits. Local community members are key partners, who have benefited in a number of ways, and the new forest is anticipated to
provide a range of important ecosystem services. The programme has highlighted the way that natural ecosystems support and protect human communities.
The Buffelsdraai Education Project, which forms part of the overall Programme, has been implemented by WESSA to engage the public on environmental education using dynamic educational programmes to extend school children’s education by giving them an outdoor experience that allows them to learn about the environment under conditions that are entirely different from those of the classroom. The education centre at Buffelsdraai can accommodate up to 120 learners per day and schools that have been targeted for the project are mostly from the neighbouring communities of Buffelsdraai, Osindisweni and Inanda.
A variety of field courses have been developed, each aligned with the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and based on the themes of Biodiversity Studies and Forest Study; Grassland and Soil Study investigation; Sustainable Living; Understanding Waste and Recycling; and Water Study.
Through WESSA’s involvement a learners have been educated on a one-day Forest Ecology Course; 320 Community Site Guides have been trained; and 60 Councillors and Community Leaders have received training on a Level 5 Sustainable Living and Climate Change Course.
The project runs until the end of February 2017.