Iimbovane learners take to the field ... Print

On the 22nd February, the Iimbovane project team set out on their first sampling event of 2012. With a Toyota packed with field equipment and supplies, the team travelled up the N1, N2 and N7 to visit secondary schools where Grade 10 learners helped the project team with the collection of ants.

LFezekile Secondary School in Oudtshoorn first sampling ants in the school ground...earners from the

This fieldwork event, however, called for something different and the project team organised that learners could join them not only in the school ground, but also for sampling in nearby national parks and nature reserves. Despite temperatures soaring in the high 30’s, learners were thrilled to help and the project team had their hands full answering questions from excited learners.

For most of the learners, it was their first time in a national park or nature reserve, let alone conducting their own research in a protected area. “The park is around the corner from our school, but I have never been inside,” was the response of a Grade 10 Life Science learner from the Gerrit du Plessis Secondary School in Riversdale, following her first visit to the Werner Frehse Nature Reserve. 

Apart from the long term monitoring sites in 18 school grounds, the project monitors a further 8 sites in South African National Parks and 13 sites in nature reserves which are under the management of CapeNature, The City of Cape Town and private owners. South African National Parks monitored by the Iimbovane project include Bontebok National Park (Swellendam), Karoo National Park (Beaufort West), Table Mountain National Park (Cape Town), West Coast National Park (Langebaan) and Wilderness National Park (Sedgefield). 

Following the visits to the protected areas, learners pointed out that they now had a better understanding of what ecologists mean by “transformed” areas when compared to protected areas.

... and then it was off to the Grootkop Nature Reserve (Oudthsoorn)