From Spotted Cats to Hairy Ants! Print

The Cape Leopard Trust is, a well-known non-governmental, non-profit organisation that focuses on innovative research, conservation and education projects, all established to facilitate and promote biodiversity conservation (https://capeleopard.org.za/about).  It was co-founded by Dr Quinton Martin. Sharing the same funder as Iimbovane, Rand Merchant Bank- we decided to join forces and see what we can learn from each other’s holiday programs. The month of July saw the first collaborative activity between Iimbovane and the Cape Leopard Trust.

 

From the 10th -14th July, Cape Leopard Trust ran their annual week-long holiday programme. This year, their holiday program was working in conjunction with a Cape Town based NGO, BRAVE Rock Girl (http://www.rockgirlsa.org/). BRAVE Rock Girl’s mission is to connect females to champions in a variety of sectors, from government, business, media, and arts. The organisation seeks to reduce violence against woman and girls through the creation of safe spaces.  The group attending Cape Leopard Trust’s workshop consisted of 14 enthusiastic girls ranging between the ages of 12-18 years old.

On their holiday programme, Cape Leopard Trust introduced their learners to biodiversity, and the various aspects to the Fynbos biome – both flora and fauna, particularly emphasising the importance of protecting the Capes wilderness. After seeing some of the marvels that the Cape has to offer, Iimbovane came into the picture. We took the group for a dynamic day in the field and lab. Here Iimbovane introduced the girls to the science behind biodiversity. The girls were given a background to Iimbovane’s work, and taught about the importance of ants to the environment, as bio-indicators. We explored various collection methods in a nearby nature reserve, then brought our samples back to the lab at the University. Here the girls were provided with microscopes to take a look at biodiversity on a micro-scale. The success of each ant collection method was calculated. The day provided insights into what it was like to be a biodiversity scientist.

When the girls were asked about what the highlight of the week was, seeing ants under the microscope was the clear winner.Considering the success of the day, Iimbovane looks forward to future collaborations with Cape Leopard Trust!