Words by: Eleanor Yeld Hutchings
Another school term draws to a close. Exams are finished, reports have been handed out, and there is a palpable air of excitement as that final school bell is about to ring. For us at the Save Our Seas Foundation’s Shark Education Centre, that means only one thing – it’s time for Marine Awareness Camp! This June it was the turn of the Grade 5 learners from Capricorn Primary, and we were joined by 26 excited children (and a few excited adults).
During the course of two and a half days, the children were immersed in the great outdoors at the beautiful Soetwater Environmental Education Centre, situated along the fynbos-rich edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the Cape Peninsula. In such a setting, the opportunities to get up close and personal with nature were endless.
Right from their arrival, the fun started, with sand sculpture competitions, team building, beach ecosystem explorations, finding out about archaeology and human history, and the much-anticipated night hike, leaving the only real question: how to fit in all the learning and all the fun before their time was up!?
The camp seemed to speed by, as they all do. When it came to an end and the final delicious lunch was being prepared, we asked the children what their favourite activities were, and what they had enjoyed most about the camp. ‘The night hike!’ ‘The bird show!’ ‘The food!’ ‘The swimming!’ ‘The beach activities!’ ‘The shark lesson!’
When we asked what their least favourite activity was? Silence. Until one child eventually piped up with, ‘All the walking!’
We were ably assisted by the most wonderful volunteers from the University of Cape Town’s Underwater Club. A huge thanks to Ansa, Wayne and Ben. We are also extremely grateful that for once the notorious Cape winter played its part and didn’t surprise us with any storms.
Looking back, we can safely say we achieved our goals:
Being out in nature? Check.
Exploring the rich marine and coastal ecosystem? Check.
And lastly, fun? A very big CHECK!