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ENVIRONMENTAL FUN (article first published : 2005-06-6)

Celebrating World Environment Week, the Durban Botanic Gardens, in association with the Department of Agriculture and Environment, will host an exciting four-day educational programme running from June 7 to 10.

Educators and learners from all over Durban and environs will have the opportunity to experience a full morning of varied activities. Whilst educators attend lectures in the hall, learners are taken on guided tours of the Botanic Gardens where they share the presentations that they have prepared at their schools with the other learners in their groups.

There is also an interactive Visual Art Workshop conducted by ceramicist Wendy Nell with well-known local artists Zamani Makhanya and Sfiso ka Makame, both of whom have exhibited internationally, as well as art and craft expert Colleen Pope and arts educator Gisele Turner.

"We started this interactive expressive and visual arts programme last year and were delighted to see how much the learners enjoyed themselves and how much they learnt. Their teachers were thrilled!" says Martin Clement, Education Officer at Durban Botanic Gardens.

Wendy Nell, who was one of the facilitators in 2004, comments: "Learners work with a variety of different art materials. For some it is the first time that they have access to paint and brushes. It is very gratifying to see children from diverse backgrounds participate in a creative exercise. Art is a great way to build relationships and cross barriers!"

There are still several treats in store for the learners before the day is done. After a break during which they are given fruit and sandwiches, they go into the hall and watch The Green Hats, an environmental comedy that focuses on changing bad old attitudes and developing good new habits.

The play, which is performed by Aldo Brincat, Wendy Nell and Gisele Turner has enjoyed great success over the past five years and is a fun way to learn how to take good care of the environment.

At the end of the morning each participating school receives a tree to plant in the school grounds.

The week's activities are funded by the Department of Agriculture and Environment and the project is coordinated by the Durban Botanic Gardens.




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