Muizenberg Festival 2017 – The Environmental Week

By Kholofelo Sethebe – Sea Search Intern 2017/18

Spring in Muizenberg kicked off this year with the Muizenberg Festival, a two week community driven festival, lasting from October 1st to 15th. The 15 days were meant for people in Muizenberg to interact with each other, to learn about the interesting things going on in our suburb, and to get a chance to maybe try something new, whether it be a food, or raft building. Sea Search has been actively involved in the programme for the past 3 years and the experience keeps getting better every year.

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Sea search was invited to be part of the Zandvlei Environmental Week, which was operated by Mark Clive Arendse, People Conservation Officer of Zandvlei Nature Reserve (http://www.zandvleitrust.org.za/). Zandvlei Environmental Week ran from the 2nd October 2017 to the 6th October 2017. Hosted by the “Friends of Muizenberg Park” at the park on Main Road, there were educational talks on different interesting species, ranging from whales and dolphins, to leopards and snakes. These educational talks also introduced the concept of Earth rights to the children, creating a sense of love for nature. Fun conservation themed games were used so that the children could interact with what they were learning about. There were colouring games, painting games, snake and leader games, and racing games, all of which made for fun filled days.

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Zandvlei fetched learners from schools that lived far away from Muizenberg so they too could have a taste of what the festival was offering, which was an amazing experience for them and they learned a lot from talks. The Muizenberg community participated as well, making for a fun, diverse group.

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After a little urgency in the morning, trying to assemble the very large marquee, which took more time and man power than expected, the first day of the Environmental Week (02 October 2017) turned into a great success. Thanks to the Zandvlei staff, who worked extra hard to avoid too much delay, both Sea Search and the Cape Leopard Trust managed to present. After a little bit of schooling, the kids had a great time enjoying their games before heading back home. The first day was attended by 30 Steinberg primary learners and a few local children.

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Day two also started off with a little dynamic planning to ensure a successful day. The windy weather forced us to rearrange the tent so that everyone can be covered from the wind, and enjoy the presentations. Even though the wind was picking up every minute, the local children as well as the learners from Lavana primary school still enjoyed their activities and the talks. The day ended well, except for the unfortunate news that day three had to be cancelled for the safety of the community due to the extreme wind.

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The festival continued on Thursday, the 5th of October, with beautiful sunny skies, and a calm breeze, which made for a great day. With almost double the attendance growth, everything was going well. Lavana primary were able to attend again, as they did not get a chance to finish off their day on the 3rd. A good number of the Muizenberg community attended as well, and the day went as planned. The kids enjoyed the talks and the games, and were really excited to see the whale rope, which showed how big sea mammals can get. NRF intern and Sea Search Outreach leader Ms Kholofelo Sethebe was well received, providing an educational talk about whales and dolphins. The kids seem very interested and engaged. Michael of the Leopard Trust was very helpful with the setting up the marquee and doing his amazing education talk about leopards. Vard Amen of the Snake Conservation gave a very informative talk about snakes and what people need to know if they come across a snake in the wild.

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The final day of the environmental week had the greatest attendance with over 120 people in the tent at once. It started off at 10am and everything was right in place. It was so well planned to the point that we were able to engage with every person as they entered the marquee. In addition to Sea Search, the Snake Conservation was able to present. We also had a local community member telling everyone about Earth rights and what everyone can do to save the Earth. Families attended and the tent was full of excitement. We had Project Abroad (surfing school) kids in the tent, in addition to Muizenberg, Retreat and Steinberg communities. Try as it might, the weather did not beat us and all in all, the Environmental Week of the Muizenberg Festival was a great success. We are looking forward to the 2018 Muizenberg Festival already!

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About seasearchafrica

The Sea Search group is a collective of scientists and students with a strong academic background in the area of marine mammal science. Our primary focus is the production of peer-reviewed scientific research and student training. We also provide specialist consultancy services and work with industry and government to promote conservation through effective management.

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