Personal tools
You are here: Home eNewsletter Archives 2007 June 2007 "Firing up" our educators for environmental research and education

"Firing up" our educators for environmental research and education


Educators are shown how to monitor water quality and test river health at the Klaserie River (Picture © Joe Sibiya)


Piecing the puzzle together - educators learn how to do a results analysis of their findings (Picture © Joe Sibiya)

- By Joe Sibiya, Education Outreach Officer, SAEON Ndlovu Node

The SAEON Ndlovu Node ran its second Educators Support Workshop in April this year at the Southern African Wildlife College near the Orpen Gate of the Kruger National Park (KNP). Ten educators from schools in the vicinity of the Node attended the Workshop.

Scientists from SAEON, the KNP, Wits Rural Facility, and the Southern African Wildlife College gave lively and informative presentations on environmental research relevant to the lowveld.

Tony Swemmer, manager of the SAEON Ndlovu Node, presented a talk on global climate change and ideas for class-room experiments for teaching weather. Wayne Twine (Wits) gave a presentation on the use of natural resources in the Bushbuckridge area. Louise Swemmer of the KNP gave a presentation on estimating the demand and supply of fire-wood in a village adjacent to the KNP.

Eddie Riddel of the Wits Rural Facility gave a talk on catchment management issues in the Sand River Catchment. Jen Niewenham, an ecological consultant, took the teachers down to the Klaserie River to demonstrate the practical activity of water quality monitoring and sampling of aquatic invertebrates to determine the health of a river. According to the educators, the practical session at the river was the highlight of the Workshop.

The SAEON Weekend-Away Educators Support Workshop is an annual event for high school educators. It is designed to promote an interest in and a greater familiarity with environmental science, in the hope that the educators will pass the knowledge and interest on to their learners and to the community at large.

In their own words …

The teachers' comments about the workshop provide a measure of their opinion of the success and value of the programme.

Having come straight out of their normal Friday teaching, onto a bus to Klaserie and finding themselves in the middle of a hectic week-end programme, by Sunday the comment was, "A week-end is not enough, the workshop could have been a week long".

The educators also commented that the topics covered were relevant to the curriculum and felt that they would return to their schools as better informed educators, able to approach the topics with confidence, which would benefit the learners. They commented that the different presentations and activities had clearly demonstrated the inter-connectedness between Life Sciences, Geography and Mathematics. In conclusion, they declared themselves to be "all fired up" to implement hands-on environmental research and education projects at their schools.

A pleased Sibongile Mokoena, SAEON's Education Outreach Coordinator, said: "The unique strength of SAEON's education outreach lies in its capacity to facilitate and provide a platform for interaction between scientists and the education community."

Related content


Document Actions