Although the Midlands Meander Education Project (MMAEP) annual awards ceremony is always a colourful occasion, this year, the colour was predominantly green. 10 schools achieved the WESSA/WWF Eco-schools status they were aiming for, with eight Green Flags awarded and one school, Hawkstone Primary in the Karkloof achieving Gold Status for improved efforts in their fourth year as an Eco-School.
The morning, hosted by Midmar Resort, was a multi-cultural affair where educators and learners celebrated with local dignitaries, funders and supporters. Guests including the reporters of Greater Good were treated to Zulu Dance display by the children of Vrystaat Foundation School in Middlerus while Nottingham Road Combined School showed off their sensational new skills in Tswana and Sotho dance. Children from King’s School raised a laugh with their delightful Permaculture play and learners from Corrie Lynn Primary performed an entertaining play they had made up about not killing snakes, much to the delight of guest, Pat McKrill from Snake Country. Pat commented “I was hugely impressed with your presentation. The negativity, justified or not, that exists in our country, could have been wiped out in a morning with the ‘Bugs’ and their infectious enthusiasm. The ‘snake story’ was tremendous and shows that the message does get through. I feel that this is entirely due to you and the efforts of your team. Both the snakes, and I, are indeed honoured to be associated with the MMAEP.”
The MMAEP recognises that it is often one dedicated teacher who makes the difference when aiming for Eco-School status. Earlier this year, Thenjiwe Ngubane, who was passionate about environmental education, passed away. Over the years she had consistently produced outstanding work and in her honour, Zulu Lulu created a “Bug Dlamini” Trophy to be awarded to the school which submitted the best portfolio of work. Nottingham Road Combined took the honours. Principal, Thami Sokhela was thrilled. “You have instilled this love of nature in us. In the community we are now renowned for our commitment to the environment. You encourage and support us all the way. Thank you” he said.
To reward the compassion, commitment and enthusiasm shown by other special educators, Thenjiwe Ngcobo of Corrie Lynn Primary and Yvonne Dlamini of Sifisisihle Primary, each received a selection of gifts from Midlands Meander members including accommodation at Lythwood Lodge and gift vouchers from The Lavender Co, Peter’s Gate Herbal Centre and Agape leather. Mrs Ngcobo who has been an educator for twenty years, thanked the MMAEP saying “I am delighted that my work has been recognised for the first time. It is an honour to receive such a wonderful award. I feel encouraged and motivated. Thank you.”
All in all, it was a splendid occasion and a bright start to a green Midlands Summer. Should you wish to support the creative activities of the MMAEP, visit The Bug Shop at www.mmaep.co.za and give some seasonal gifts that could really make a difference.