“Inspire, Nurture, Cultivate”: Working with ECP

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Etienne Basson is a Earthchild Project facilitator in our environmental programmes in Lavender Hill. Read what he has to say about working work our Eco-Warriors as part of the Earthchild Project team…

Six months ago I started my journey with Earthchild Project. I was excited to be part of this inspiring organization. I want to teach people to fall in love with nature and not nature as we know it, but human nature and what comes naturally to them – and with Earthchild Project’s motto being “Inspire, Nurture, Cultivate” it felt like the perfect fit. The idea of connecting with the kids and sharing and teaching them about what I love – nature – brought a certain joy and smile to my face. To think, I could shape how they think and feel about nature through the lessons and maybe, just maybe, inspire one of them to be the next top ecologist or biologist.

I remember walking into my first class and the excitement of the 35 kids immediately overwhelmed me. All they wanted to do was learn about worms and they couldn’t stop talking about what they already knew. I went into all my classes with this excitement and joy and thought about how I can stimulate their curiosity through the practical experience that worm farming and gardening has to offer.

As the months passed and I got to know the children and teachers, I got a different insight into what Earthchild Project was really about, and this was particularly evident at the 8-day Earthchild Alumni Camp in Greyton. Most of the participants have been part of the Earthchild Project Programme for more than 5 years, from the age of about 7 or 8 years old.

At the camp I got to spend more time with the Alumni group and during this time this group of young people really inspired me and changed the way I see and think about Earthchild Project. What really stood out about the group was the way they stood up and took responsibility and promoted the idea of positive actions and initiatives to support their fellow young people.They participated fully, asked questions, and gave valuable opinions and thoughts on important topics and activities presented at the camp. They openly shared their fears, struggles, and obstacles – and worked on their visions, goals and intentions. They helped, supported and encouraged one another through personal issues, struggles and illness that came up at the camp.

As the camp closed I came to the realization that Earthchild Project is not “just” about teaching yoga and worm farming in schools and shaping the next ecologist or yogi. It is truly about this idea of “Inspire, Nurture, Cultivate” – as the slogan says.

Through learning about nature and practicing yoga they get a sense of who they are, and all the positive contributions they can make to their lives, the lives of others, and to nature. And when we look at what’s going on in our communities and country, we need to know that somewhere, somehow, someone will start making positive changes in their lives and in the lives of others. I am proud to be part of the Earthchild Project Team that are making a difference in the lives of so many young people in Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha.

Etienne.

Children in Nature

The Eco-Warrior club is an after school program run by our Xoli Fujani. The club aims to combine leadership training, life skills and environmental education in a way that is engaging and experimental – and is successful. As is demonstrated by this song below, written by students from Harmony Primary School in Lavender Hill who are members of the Eco-Warrior Club. Read more

Hiking Club: Catching Tadpoles on Admiral Falls

Our school hiking club from Sakumlandela Primary, Khayelitsha, spent Saturday, 12 September, soaking up the good weather while hiking up towards Admiral Falls. The exhausted themselves climbing rock faces, catching tadpoles and acting out group animals.

The group returned home, happily exhausted, and more than ever connected to the nature, each other and themselves. Thank you to everyone of our supporters who make this possible.

Environmental Video – “I Am Mother Nature”

Mother Nature has been around for over 4.5 billion years, she doesn’t really need people but we need her. This environmental video voices what Mother Nature would say if she could speak. She’s a terrifyingly strong woman, narrated by Julia Roberts, who makes it clear that the need to care for her is not about her own survival but our own.

It’s a little snippet that shows quickly the importance of the environmental issues we face and forms part of a series for Nature is Speaking, narrated by well-known celebrates. For example, Edward Norton is the Soil, speaking of how we treat him like dirt and how he is broken, while Kevin Spacey is the Rainforest.

Environmental education is often so theoretical that children and students struggle to grasp its immediate and practical implications. In particular, at Earthchild Project, our children live in communities where nature is scarce, without trees or grass or plants. It can make environmental education difficult, as how do you care for something you know so little about. We found that creating gardens and worm farming through our Living Classrooms, and hiking were good ways to connect our children with the environment.

By joining hikes, our Earthchildren often are exposed to forests, clear rivers and mountain tops, for the first time in their lives. The impact is self-evident in the faces of the children who join the hikes…

This series of videos are good at addressing this problem, by personifying the environment. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Hiking in Simon’s Town: Harmony Primary

Our Earthchildren explored an area of Simon’s Town that’s new to us – the Admiral’s Waterfall trail is a beautiful 3km walk, that takes about 1.5 hours and is an easy for walk for children to enjoy. So consider taking your own children.

It starts at the footpath that you will find at the end of Barnard Street, and climbs gently towards a bend, where you enjoy a view of a deep ravine. The Admiral’s waterfall and poop is at the top – maybe pack a picnic to enjoy here while you swim and enjoy the view over Simon’s Town harbour.

If you decide to venture along this trail, share your photos and experience with us?

Find out more about our hiking club

Guest Post: Mindful Walking Along the Umfolozi River – Athenkosi Khulu

Athenkosi Khulu  is an Earthchild and one of our Alumni. He’s been part of our programme for many years and finished Grade 12 last year.

Recently he had the opportunity, as part of the Earthchild Project Hiking Club, to join the “Wilderness Within” trail for five days of walking and camping combined with meditation and mindfulness guided by a Tibetan Buddhist nun. It allows one to connect to the wild without, and within.  

This is Athenkosi’s experience of the trail in his own words… Read more

Annual Eco-Warrior’s Camp: Harmony Primary

The grade 4 – 6 Eco-warriors extramural club at Harmony Primary escaped to Portberg at De Hoop Nature Reserve, for their annual camp from May 8 to 10.

Thanks to the support of people like you, our Earthchildren got to enjoy 3 days connecting with nature, coming up close with an octopus, dung beetles and a baboon. The baboon took to stealing the camp’s bread and apples.

The De Hoop Nature Reserve is located close to Cape Agulhas and is a world heritage site with protected land and marine areas.

Take a look at the photos of the weekend below…

Eco-Outing: Intaka Island, Harmony Primary

This week Mrs Robertson’s Grade 6 at Harmony Primary got to explore Intaka Island as part of their Living Classroom’s eco-outing. It’s a 6 hectare wetland and bird sanctuary situated in the heart of Century City approximately 7km from Cape Town’s CBD, which gives our Earthchildren the chance to connect with nature close to home.

You can find out more about our Living Classrooms here

 

yoga and meditation for kidsConnect

We teach children to connect to self, each other and the earth through yoga and life skills.

organic gardening worm-farming for kidsCultivate

We teach children to cultivate practical skills for life through gardening and worm farming.

hiking with kidsInspire

We're inspiring a new generation of young leaders through hikes and holiday programmes.

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