Make-a-Difference Week

The Society for Ecological Restoration inspired Make-a-Difference Week, a worldwide effort to reduce negative environmental impacts. The Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) team kicked off the nine-day commitment with a beach clean-up from Sunrise Beach to Muizenberg on World Environment Day, Saturday, 05 June 2021, which was also the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The clean-up grew to include participation by a variety of community-empowerment partners, including Village Heights Eco Buddies, Project 90 by 2030, 9 Miles Project, Beyond Project and the Beach Co-op. Also joining CTEET’s Conservation Leaders in this effort were learners and teachers from Silukhanyo Primary school, West End Primary, John Graham Primary, Steenberg High and individual learners from Rondebosch Boys’ and Herschel Girls’ High schools. In total, participants collected 215 kgs of trash, with the top three ‘dirty dozen’ items being individual sweet wrappers, cool drink lids and lollipop sticks. The dirty dozen refers to the 12 most prevalent plastic litter items found in the ocean.

Melissa Zackon, CTEET’s School Coordinator says, “The clean-up was a great success and we appreciate the positive response from sponsors who came on board. The kids absolutely loved the day and learned so much while still making a huge positive impact! Captain Fanplastic ran the programme for our younger learners whilst The Beach Co-op coordinated the briefing and helped with older learners.”

The week progressed with various activities and efforts to stunt the devastating degradation of our natural world. These included short guided walks and beach clean-ups hosted by the penguin rangers in Simon’s Town, who shared their vast penguin knowledge. According to Ranger, Mikaela Slier, “The highlight was our beach clean-up on Wedneday, 9 June. We collected four large refuse bags with the beach team and two large bags by the team on kayaks. We also conducted a night survey on Thursday, 10 June to increase our species list.”

The week ended with Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area staff being joined by volunteers from the Friends of KRCA and the community, to be part of a restoration process on Sunday, 13 June 2021. Assistant Conservation Officer, Fayruz Prins tells us, “We collected seeds from five different plants in the Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos that occurs at Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area, which will be stored at the Millennium Seed Bank for future use and to prevent species extinction. We also planted 30 plants of five different species in the conservation area to restore an edge affected by passing vehicles. We were delighted to have such passionate volunteers participate in the action.”

Thanks to Plastics SA, Pick ‘n Pay and Krispy Kreme who donated refuse bags, food and doughnuts respectively.

Beach Clean-Up Sunrise Beach, arranged by the Sustainable Schools team

Beach clean-up, guided walks and night survey with the rangers at Simon’s Town

Restoration at Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area