Celebrating with WESSA Eco-Schools

Arbour Week is celebrated in South Africa from 1 – 7 September each year, and is an important opportunity not only to highlight the significance of trees, but also to ‘green’ urban environments. The EWT marked the occasion by planting trees at a number of our Eco-Schools in Alexandra and Hammanskraal.

The WESSA Eco-School programme is an internationally recognised programme run in 52 countries with more than 1,100 schools participating in South Africa. The Endangered Wildlife Trust supports ten schools in Hammanskraal and two in Alexandra, Johannesburg. The aim of programme is to help schools and communities to improve their environmental management, incorporate environmental education into the curriculum, and become more sustainable. This is done by the implementation of action projects stirred by themes such as nature and biodiversity, resource use, healthy living, to mention a few that are then implemented towards achieving this sustainability. Arbour Week provides an opportunity to increase awareness on the value of indigenous trees, and to get learners and educators involved in improving the environment at their schools by planting these trees.


Later on in the month, we also celebrated World Recycling Day with some of our WESSA Eco-Schools in Hammanskraal by showcasing the recycling projects they did this year. Their work was so impressive that we picked not one, but two schools to receive the prize for best recycling project, with the theme ‘Resource Use’. Not only do these schools implement their chosen action project each year, they are also required to ensure that thematic content is integrated into the curriculum and that the project contributes to improved environmental management of their schools.

The winning schools, Itereleng Primary and Phelang LSEN, were treated to the experience of a lifetime when they were rewarded with a game drive in the Dinokeng Game Reserve!
This work was made possible by Bakwena N1/N4 Toll Concessionaire and SBV. Thanks also to Mongena, which is the flagship lodge in Dinokeng, for sponsoring the entire game drive including rangers, and to Cara Williamson for photography.

Emily Taylor, Coordinator: Urban Conservation and Gauteng Biodiversity Stewardship

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