Birding masters and champions
The Birding Masters and Champions Program is a joint venture run by NVT and BirdLife PLettenberg Bay. The programme has been going extremely well so far! This environmental education programme was initiated to transfer knowledge from experienced birders (the masters) in order to create birding champions from learners in different schools around Plettenberg Bay. The schools involved in this programme are members of a nationwide approach to encourage environmental education in schools around the country, known as eco-schools, an initiative lead by WESSA who happens to be one of our partner organisations. This programme was launched in May in Natures Valley next to the Groot River Bridge by Geoff McIlleron and Michael Londt, the champions had a great time exploring and learning how to identify birds using binoculars and bird guide books.
We then went to Formosa with our birding masters Daniel Cloete who is NVT’s former program director and his Wife Chrissie, who is involved in the Plett Hope Spot, they decided to start exploring in the school yard this was a good opportunity for them to watch birds they share their relatively new playground with. These champions took advantage of this opportunity and you can tell we are producing a solid bird club at the school. Our masters were also very excited and would like to continue this program.
We then went out with Plettenberg Bay Christian School to the Keurbooms River to explore more about water birds. The birding master of the day was Bob Forbes from BirdLife Plettenberg Bay. He ensured that the learners had a great day and would have confidence in identifying water birds during family picnics or school outing.
It was then time for Plettenberg Bay Secondary School, the birding master for the day was Michael Bridgeford who happens to be the chairman of BirdLife Plettenberg Bay, and who according to Cindy is an excellent teacher who ensured the champions from Plett Sec got into it quickly and they were keen to becoming twitchers.
We had our second outing with Crags Primary again with Geoff and Michael as our birding masters and already you could see the spirit of championship from these learners on their second outing already, they were very enthusiastic.
We revisited Plettenberg Bay Christian School on a very wet and cold day. However that didn’t stop these champions who decided to have an indoor lesson, where they had to investigate more on wide diversity of birds around Southern Africa.
We are looking forward to adding more schools and creating more champions in this project because we see the impact it could have on our society on why it is important to respect and take care of these wonderful creations.