WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM?
Each week, DAKTARI welcomes 8 Grade 8 students to come and stay at our camp. During their week of environmental education, the children get to see our animals, interact with volunteers and learn about their environment and how to protect it. Our aim is to provide an engaging learning experience that motivates students to care for their environment.
Each lesson is taught by international volunteers who are part of the program as teachers and animal care providers. The volunteers receive the teaching program, a comprehensive manual with instructions for teaching each lesson.
To further inspire the children, they get to interact with the animals at DAKTARI’s wildlife orphanage. The animals live in enclosures throughout the camp or live free in the bush surrounding camp. Whether it is a hungry squirrel or a curious dassie, each child is able to see an animal up close!
Each day has a mix of lessons, activities, and animal interactions. Compared to to the normal classes in secondary school, at DAKTARI we keep class sizes small. Therefore, we can provide individual attention to each child. The children also take part in social talks to address some serious issues that they may face at home. DAKTARI’s friendly environment gives the children the confidence to speak openly about their concerns and needs.
Feedback from a former student!
“During my week at DAKTARI (…) I have learnt that we have to protect our environment and our nature. I don’t know how I can thank you enough for what you have done for us. It was really an opportunity of a lifetime.” Debra, 14-year-old, student from Rakgolokwana High school.
A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR LESSONS
We have developed and improved our environmental education program over the years. Our lessons are varied and do not stop at only environmental subjects, we also teach important life-skills experiences such as career guidance and politeness. Have a look at some of our lessons below.
Animal tracks and signs.
The objective is to understand how to identify animal prints and track patterns. This activity will expose students to the natural fauna through the identification of small and big mammal, bird, and reptile tracks. They will also play a matching game with them following a short bush walk to actively look for tracks and signs.
Career Guidance and Game reserve visit.
The unemployment rate for youth in Limpopo is around 50%. To encourage the children to look for a job after they finish school, we present them the different employment opportunities they can find around them. We then take them to visit a Game Reserve so they can interact with various employees and ask them questions.
Making SA a better place
During this lesson the children are asked to debate on the numerous issues that their country may face and how they can play a role in eradicating them. With this in mind, each child is asked to think of 6 promises to themselves and to their country which will make South Africa a better place.
Children as ambassadors
One of the main reasons for environmental degradation is the lack of education. Indeed, local communities do not understand the importance of protecting their wildlife and environment. At DAKTARI, by interacting with our animals and learning about them, we want our students to become ambassadors. We believe that they can become actors of change within their community. For example, by sharing their knowledge with their families they can help influence their perception about their environment. During their stay, the students are empowered to find solutions to issues that their village faces.