The Timbavati Foundation Environmental School is actively involved in various sustainability programs in neighbouring communities as well as in outreach and educational programmes in primary schools and high schools. A core focus is to educate on best environmental practices and to provide first hand experiences of these practices to local communities living outside the borders of National and private game parks in the area. Much of the economic activity in the area is driven by tourism and employment within the parks.
Our mission is to promote environmental and conservation awareness and ecotourism, which includes maintaining the environmental school and expanding teacher workshops at local schools, as well as, providing experiences for future rangers, hospitality personnel and conservationists for the area.
The principles of sustainable gardening are taught, as well as, composting and planting of trees in partnership with WildTrust and their Treepreneur Programme.
Pupils while at the school are given a yearly assignment to create a permagarden within their community or school. This project takes a year and special emphasis is placed on erosion control, tidiness, recycling and sustainability. Some of these gardens become an important food source for the community and augment government feeding schemes, as well as, engendering a sense of pride and achievement within the community.
At the end of the year, an assesement is done by the Foundaiton. The winners are awarded a free trip to the Kruger National Park. The best students go on to do a course at the nearby Southern African Wildlife College, a SADC recognized centre of specialization. A number of promising students are also sponsored to attend hospitality training at the South African College of Tourism in Graaff-Reinet.
Inspiring the next Generation of Future Conservationists
The TPNR’s Head of Ranger Services, Mr. Anton Mzimba, has noticed a shift in values as youth have become increasingly disconnected from conservation. He believes that if they don’t see value in national parks and protected areas that wildlife areas will become more valuable as farmland or housing developments.
“But there is still hope. It’s in our job to inspire the next generation of rangers.”
Connecting with our surrounding communities and instilling a conservation passion from an early age, will assist in recruiting the youth in wanting to contribute and make a career in conservation. The Timbavati Foundation through its Environmental School aims to promote and encourage just that.
As part of our Timbavati Foundation Environmental School excursions, young learners experience trips in the bush and to the world-class Graeme Naylor Museum in The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR). Here, they are greeted and motivated by one the TPNR field rangers. This encourages the children to see that field rangers are their friends and not to be afraid but inspired by them. These trips bring the wonder and learning to life and inspires these young hearts and minds to reconnect with nature once more.
About 40,000 learners visit the Graeme Naylor museum annually, as part of these ongoing educational programmes that reach 64 local Schools within the Bushbuckridge area.
Waste Management and Litter
The Timbavati Foundation Environmental School encourages cleaner and more sustainable practices. Students visit a recycling plant as part of their learning experience.