GEORGE NEWS - A new initiative that aims to promote the advancement of environmental awareness among the youth was officially launched earlier this month.
It is an initiative of the Landmark Foundation and known as the "Green Passport environmental education programme".
Monica Vaccaro of the Landmark Foundation told the George Herald it is aimed at school learners from Grades 4 to 7. It is hoped that the Green Passport will develop an ecological understanding of the world around them, thus promoting environmental awareness through positive experiences with nature.
"This is done via the Skav method - a process that enables the learner to grow by acquiring Skills, gathering Knowledge, changing their Attitude toward the environment, and building a new set of Values to assist in the development of their reawakened environmental awareness and increased ecological intelligence," said Vaccaro.
The Green Passport programme is run at the Garden Route Environmental Education Centre in the Garden Route Botanical Garden in George. Learners attend an ecological course at the centre, after which they write a short test to ensure that they understand what the rules of nature are, and receive their Green Passport. This will make it easy for them to navigate through the garden in future. Vaccaro said the garden offers a safe environment and is perfect for facilitating the education goals of the initiative.
Every time learners visit the garden their personal Green Passports are stamped and when the passports are full, they receive a Green Award.
This serves to acknowledge the environmental knowledge built over a period of time, as well as an improved environmental awareness and increased ecological intelligence. Thus the learners cultivate understanding of their role in the environment, and will intrinsically conserve it.
So far more than 400 learners have received passports. "We look forward to have more schools through the system," said Vaccaro. Among the first primary schools that received their Green Passports were Pacaltsdorp, Study House, New Dawn Park, Heidedal, Holy Cross and Hibernia. Other schools that have participated in the programme include Blanco Primary, Huis Outeniekwa Primary and Land Service. Teachers across the Garden Route are encouraged to visit the Environmental Education Centre with their learners.
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