The Environmental School
In 2010, the Foundation Trustees realised that the bush school was restricted in terms of space and facilities and that in order to grow it was necessary to relocate to larger premises. The De Villiers Family (Charles De Villiers is a Trustee and Chairman) acquired a wildlife property adjoining The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and donated the construction of a R9 million environmental school to house the Timbavati Foundation and the new school premises.
Today, the Timbavati Foundation Environmental School provides overnight accommodation for groups of up to 24 learners and 2 educators or teachers in a typical bush area.
The School was originally started to benefit children of staff of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. The old Bush School now falls under the Timbavati Foundation and has been re-named as The Timbavati Foundation Environmental School. The new larger school facilities are able to educate more students on nature, conservation and the environment.
Environmental Education Curriculum
The School employs two full-time environmental educators to surpervise their programmes. The environmental education programme runs from January to December each year and covers themes on water conservation, soil and vegetation, animals, plants and birdlife, soil erosion and pollution control, perma-gardening and anti-poaching to combat wildlife crime in the area. Training is tailored to the activities, needs and challenges of the communities in this area and involves many High Schools and Primary Schools.
Two groups visit the school each week, with the grade 11 learners staying from Monday to Wednesday and Grade 7 learners from Thursday to Friday.
We also have 5 environmental monitors visiting primary schools during the week and they cover various areas of conservation
In total each year we reach more than 900 learners and educators through the overnight program and some 35,000 learners in total. 64 schools are involved in our outreach.
The grade 11 course covers:
- Rock -soil –plant- animal association and their interdependence
- Endangered species and causal factors
- Bush walk experience
- Poaching and the impact thereof
- Soil erosion, water, recycling, littering, planting of indigenous trees and plants
- Vegetable cultivation
- Visit to timbavati museum with lecture on display items
At the end of day 3 there is a test to measure what has been learnt and learners are given t- shirts and encouraged to paint on to these what “message” has had the greatest impact on them.
At the end of the three days each group is given a project to take back to their schools. Over the remainder of the year the projects are evaluated and the teams from the winning schools are rewarded with an educational field trip to the Kruger National Park.
The grade 7 group covers:
- A condensed version of the course given to the grade 11 group
All these learners become ambassadors to take back the messages to their schools, and to make sure that the schools and their families adhere to the environmental principles we teach.
Jacques Britz, general manager of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, commented that the conservation program taught by the Foundation plays an important role in the protection of rhino in the private reserves.
Bursaries and Awards
The Timbavati Foundation conducts a selection process for from those attending their courses. A few of the best learners are awarded bursaries for further study at the Southern African Wildlife College. Others attend the South African College for Tourism and The Tracker Academy in Graaff-Reinet. These bursaries allow promising and motivated learners to further their education in nature conservation.
The Timbavati Foundation further collaborates with the Southern African Wildlife College and the Kruger National Park. Learners from the 3 top performing schools are sponsored by the Timbavati Foundation to attend a 3 day environmental educational trip to the Pretoriuskop Restcamp in the Kruger National Park.
The majority of these learners find employment as a result of the training
Transport Challenges and How You Can Help
We aim to increase the number of learners attending the in-house courses to 1200 but cannot achieve this until a second larger mini bus is acquired. Transport has a problem as the mini-bus we have is too small and requires two trips to fetch and carry the learners and educators. Our aim is to acquire a larger vehicle.
We would appreciate any donations to help us achieve this much needed goal.
Reasons to Fund the Timbavati Foundation’s Environmental School Project
We provide direct service delivery within mainstream schooling in the region using a model of service delivery that is welcomed by all tiers of education – the learners, the educators, the governing bodies and the Department of Education.
We have good cooperation and trust with local schools in the Acornhoek area.
- All funds go directly to project costs that directly benefit beneficiaries on the ground.
- Human and financial resources are used in the most beneficial way to achieve the intended goal.