A lovely thing happened to Andrew Graaf, principal of Alexander High this week. He received a Certificate of Appreciation from Henryville Primary to thank him and his staff for helping one of their pupils. Recently, along with others concerned for the health of our rivers, he participated in a celebration of International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams.
Epworth School’s Earth Active Club hosted the day – performing river clean-up activities at the Blackburrow Spruit (located just beyond Peter Pan School on Isabel Beardmore/Croft Roads in Pietermaritzburg). They were joined by other primary and high school eco-clubs and UKZN fourth-year students. DUCT education officers were on hand to help groups obtain an understanding of citizen science monitoring tools (MiniSASS) and other river health issues.
Alex Eco-Club turned up in full force and the teachers all got their feet in the river too.
Henryville Primary’s DUCT Eco Club gave a thumbs up for river health.
The DUCT River Care team, lead by Sthembiso Sangwani, explained their work clearing the riparian zone of alien vegetation. Everyone learned how to identify and eradicate invasive plants,
Investigated the various impacts along the river banks,
and cleaned up as much as they could.
DUCT staff Wendy Ngcobo, Zakhlele Madunge, Kholosa Magudu and Livhu Ndlovu helped participants use MiniSASS to measure the health of the stream.
Everyone made new friends as young and old explored together.
Mahomed Desai of Groundtruth inspired learners with his knowledge and passion for rivers.
There is no doubt that connecting to nature leads to responsible environmental behaviour. Pandora Long from Eco-Schools comments “It is so heartening to see our youth interest growing around river health and the desire to rehabilitate and conserve our precious water resources. It is also so meaningful and encouraging for young learners to see other young professionals and leaders engaging in action for rivers.”
Afterwards, with a glowing face and raw ankle bones from wearing gumboots, Andrew Graaf wrote: “What an interesting day. Lubabalo Ndlela (DUCT Eco Club member – below) in Gr 6 from Henryville was our hero. He tackled his MiniSASS activity with such enthusiasm. He caught a little fish and later a big crab! He was SO PROUD. We noticed that his shirt was threadbare, a patch neatly sewn by a kind Mom or Gogo. We bought him two shirts and a pair of shoes (his had holes in them) and delivered them to Mrs Ngcobo – principal of Henryville.”
Thrilled with the generous and thoughtful response of delivering the framed certificate to Alex, Andrew concluded “Such a small gesture really but the love and appreciation comes back tenfold.”
Now if we all show just a little bit of love to a river nearby, it will respond by providing precious water on which we all rely.