Even preschool children are already environmentalists in training in the Helderberg – we salute them during this Youth Week.
The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is a childrens group where youngsters meet on regular basis to enjoy environmental activities and outings.
Pond plants can become a nuisance and as a result, the Eco-Ranger children are always keen to spend some time assisting with clearing these plants from the ponds at the Helderberg Nature Reserve.
Pond clearing is a great way to allow children to have real child like fun while working with and in nature. While clearing the invasive plants, they can spend time wading in the water, wallowing in mud and studying plants and creatures found in the water. At the same time, they make a difference to the life in the pond by opening up areas allowing the natural ecosystem to thrive once again.
On this particular afternoon, we were fortunate to have perfect autumn weather with lots of sunshine and warmth. It didn’t take long before many of the children tossed their wellies and were waist deep in the water pulling up water lilies and other invasive plants along the edge. The papyrus proved difficult as it tends to cut fingers and so we only tackled the younger plants.
Soon we had three large piles of foliage on the edges of the pond. It turned out that we had a full blown competition on the go to see which group could create the biggest pile.
A chocolate cake was the incentive and wow did it work. In the end all the children did a fantastic job and . . . . well it was difficult to choose a winning group. Our Genet group also did a good job, however, they were too young to pull up the larger plants. So I guess it is chocolate cake for all our Pond Clearing children. Well done to all of you!
Some of the older children spent some time working with the papyrus. They were attempting to weave the fibrous threads and make paper and one child made a very smart bow and arrow.
As for the mums, some of them were presented with the most beautiful blue water lilies and most of you will have been faced with lots of mud, wet clothes, water filled gum boots and happy faces. A couple of the children really made the most of the mud. They wallowed, rolled, splashed and had oh so much fun!
This is how kids should be. And lets face it… mud is fun! It makes you happy, it connects you with nature, it provides excellent sensory play for tiny tots and it inspires creativity.
And the most important job was tackled . . . that being the removal of many plants from the water thus helping to keep the pond water clean and open.
For more info on The Helderberg Eco-Rangers, click here.