Reconnecting children with nature, DEEP works with dedicated young learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to become conservation champions for life.
“I would like to join your group because it is inspiring and educating us about how to look after the animals of the sea. I think joining your group will make me see the world in a different way.”
This is just one example of the wonderful motivational letters written by young learners eager to join the Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme (DEEP). This year’s latest intake will see new marine warriors joining the programme for three years until Grade 7.
Of the 58 applicants in 2022, eleven learners from Masakhane School in Gansbaai will participate in various exciting programmes that help reconnect children with nature. These budding conservationists will learn about the natural, social, and marine environment in which they live — taking part in activities like one of the Trust’s key projects at the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary.
Once children complete their three years and graduate from high school, they can register to participate in the DEEP Marine Club and go on to welcoming new learners and sharing all they’ve learned.
At the children’s first session, Senior Bird Rehabilitator Xolani Lawo showed the learners how to care for injured birds. And, as educator Pinkey Ngewu explains, the learners enjoyed the experience as it was their first time seeing a penguin, “It is my absolute pleasure to start this journey with these learners and encourage personal awareness and responsibility towards the environment through the acquisition of skills which will relate directly to the natural, social, and marine environment in which we live; renewing the connection between children and nature.”
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust was founded in 2006 by Wilfred Chivell, a true ocean warrior and the owner of Marine Dynamics Shark and Whale Tours. A native of Gansbaai, Wilfred knows the reefs, rocks and wrecks along the Gansbaai coastline like the inside of his home. His passion for the conservation of this diverse environment has placed the greater Dyer Island region on the international map.
Creating a foundation for the future through environmental education, DEEP monitors and evaluates the impact and growth of each individual learner over the three years.
“I want to learn from you and the group about nature and learn to work with other people. I want to teach little children in my street about what I have learnt from you about pollution.”
“I would like to join the DEEP group to learn more about the marine animals, marine environment, learn about how these animals live. I want to learn how and what we can do to make sure that these animals live in a clean and safe environment.”