Teachers and learners from 21 schools along the Bakwena N1N4 route are learning about environmental conservation, thanks to a partnership between the Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) Eco-Schools programme and the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
Bakwena, which operates the N1N4 freeway, has supported WESSA’s Eco-Schools Programme for six consecutive years. In addition to raising awareness around environmental issues, the programme provides learners with valuable knowledge and skills about gardening and recycling.
Bakwena public relations manager, Charmaine van Wyk, says Bakwena began supporting the Eco-Schools Programme in 2013 at five previously disadvantaged schools in Hammanskraal on the N1 route.
“The programme was so successful that in 2015 the project expanded to include another five schools in Hammanskraal, and in 2017 we took the programme to an additional 11 schools along the N4 route in Moedwil, Swartruggens, Groot Marico and Zeerust,” she explains.
Through the programme, teachers, learners, community members and partner organisations undertake various projects aimed at improving environmental management at their schools. Some of these projects include saving electricity and water, recycling waste and developing food gardens.
Van Wyk says the schools are provided with materials and advice to assist them in running their projects successfully. “The schools work towards achieving established goals every year. This ultimately qualifies them for an Eco-Schools Flag, which has become an internationally recognised symbol of excellence.
“We feel proud of the commitment, enthusiasm and success demonstrated by the schools participating in the Eco Schools programme. We believe widespread education is vital to addressing issues around climate change, land degradation and the loss of biodiversity.
“By partnering with WESSA’s Eco-Schools programme, we believe we can make significant inroads towards promoting responsible environmental behaviour and sustainable living along our routes,” concludes van Wyk.