Louine Boothway reports:
To celebrate May Day for Rivers, learners from the Injoloba Enviro Club in KwaMevane, Howick went on a fieldtrip to walk the Symmons stream that runs through their town to learn more about the specific issues that affect the quantity and quality of water in Symmons Stream.
The Injoloba Enviro Club with their teacher, Zaheera Rahim and facilitators Andile Vilakazi and Louine Boothway.
Pia Sanchez, founding member of the Friends of Symmons Stream, lead the walk. Having single-handedly cleared the path with a brush cutter recently she proudly lead the way marked with beautiful hand-carved signboards, also made with love by Pia and her husband. During the walk she shared information about the alien invasive plants that grow along the stream. Most problematic are various Canna species (Garden canna), Celtis occidentalis (Common Hackberry), Rubus flagellaris (bramble),Solanum mauritianum (Bugweed) and Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat). Alien invasive plants consume a lot of the available water and Pia witnessed to the fact that she has personally observed an increase in the flow of the stream over the years as a result of the clearing of alien plants.
To assess the quality of the water the learners conducted a miniSASS investigation. Samples of aquatic invertebrates collected were scrutinized with great care and after identifying all the groups represented and calculating the score the quality of the water was found to be in “Poor Condition”.
As a result of the fieldtrip the learners decided to produce a booklet on alien invasive plants specific to the Symmons Stream to assist anyone interested in helping with clearing to positively identify the plants. The Injoloba Environmental Club will continue doing monthly fieldtrips to keep a watchful eye on the Symmons Stream.
The project is sponsored by the International Eco-Schools Wrigley’s Litterless Campaign and implemented by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa in partnership with the Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust.