The future of cranes and their habitat can only be ensured by communities that understand their importance and appreciate their beauty and significance. Our aim is to develop such a culture in our children through our community engagement and education programmes.
‘Cranes in the Classroom’ was developed by our education team. Aimed at Grades 1 to 6, it seeks to provide an understanding of the environment and the fine balance of ecosystems. The programme is CAPS (Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement) supportive and puts it in line with the national curriculum. The lively lessons totally engage young children with activities like storytelling, singing, dancing and games. Using the crane as a tool, children learn to appreciate sound values and attitudes. So far this year more than 2750 learners have benefited from our programme.
The programme was first introduced to rural schools in the Nottingham Road area. Currently the K.Z.N.C.F employs two Education Officers. Additionally, four Eco Rangers from the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust) have started to implement the 'Cranes in the Classroom' program at schools in the different rural areas of SOuth Africa. All of these Officers are mentored by two very experienced teachers.
Another initiative which complements ‘Cranes in the Classroom’ is to run holidays clubs like our ‘Beautiful Nature Club’. This programme exposes children to the beauty of the grasslands and wetlands and their biology through structured but fun activities and visits to the Bill Barnes Crane and Oribi Nature Reserve.
The Education Team endeavours to assist local conservancies and environmental organisations as much as possible. This has been evident at environmental shows like 'Earth Day', 'The Witness Garden Show' and the 'Three Cranes Challenge'.
We aim to use the teachers and children who have been through the ‘Cranes in the Classroom’ programme as ambassadors with the goal of spreading the message of conservation within their communities.