In July this year, the Iimbovane Outreach Project introduced 30 Life Science learners to the wonders of biodiversity,
during two workshops held at the Centre for Invasion Biology.
The workshops titled, Big on Biodiversity, took place from 30 June to 4 July 2014, and were attended by
learners from Lavender Hill Secondary School (Retreat), Atlantis Secondary School (Atlantis), Breërivier Secondary School
(Worcester), Malibu Secondary School (Blue Downs), Vusisizwe Secondary School (Worcester), Sarepta Secondary School (Kuilsrivier),
Manzomthombo Secondary School (Blue Downs) and Luhlaza Secondary School (Khayelitsha).
Together with the Iimbovane project team, the learners took part in activities in different ecosystems. Learners
were introduced to the rich diversity of the fynbos biome during a visit to the Helderberg Nature Reserve and Kirstenbosch Botanical
Gardens. Here learners were given the opportunity to make their own plant books, which they could use, back home to recognise commonly
found fynbos plant species. Putting flowers aside, learners were also shown how to collect terrestrial invertebrates using different
methods. Freshwater biodiversity was also on the programme and despite freezing water temperature, learners were enthusiastic about
exploring the aquatic environment and its insects in the middle reaches of the Eerste River.
The workshops also gave the learners a glimpse at “life as a student” on a university campus. Learners
were taken on a campus tour and shown the different faculties and the courses each faculty offered, as well as a visit to the
The learners left for home having a greater understanding of the importance of biodiversity and how we unconsciously
rely on it in our daily lives. Based on feedback from the learners’ experiences of the activities, the microscope sessions were a hit
with the learners. This session also provided them with valuable skills.
For more information about the Iimbovane Outreach Programme, visit www0.sun.ac.za/iimbovane
Our learners’ experiences of the Big on Biodiversity workshops:
The workshop was extremely helpful; working with actual microscopes was great. The fieldwork was awesome, as it made me realize how precious those animals are and also how human activities can affect animals’ habitats.
- Learner from Sarepta Secondary School
How to really really use a microscope and ways to differentiate different species of ants.
- Learner from Luhlaza High School
I’ve learnt that ants are very important to us even if they’re small, and that we must value biodiversity.
- Learner from Vusisizwe Secondary School
A learner from Vusisizwe Secondary School (in Worcester) is adding descriptions to the plants species she collected for her plant book.
Learners attending one of the Big on Biodiversity workshops using a problem tree to explore the causes and consequences of climate change.
A learner from Sarepta Secondary School (in Kuilsrivier) is looking for invertebrates during a session on freshwater biodiversity.
Learners attending the Big on Biodiversity workshops sharing what they have learnt during the week.