Eco Children facilitates workshops with different eco-based themes for children and adults to teach them about the environment they live in.

Eco Children started life as Children's Eco Training when the organisation was founded by Sandy Wilkes in 2004. Sandy came up with the idea to present holiday workshops for the children of the working community in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve to teach them more about the environment they live in.

The kids attended schools in the neighbouring Acornhoek area, more than 100km from their homes, and school holidays presented an ideal opportunity to engage them in environmental education – something they turned out to love doing. More recently, we have extended the programme to adults that live and work on the Reserve.

Children’s Eco Training

At every training session a different theme is introduced to the trainers and children. These themes are eco-based, focusing on a different aspect of the environment each time.

The curriculum always focuses on useful advice for sustainable living by incorporating fun elements such as a quiz, fresh bush facts, new skills to master, practical exercises, homework and many more exciting elements.

Expert facilitators in their respective fields are invited to share their knowledge with the trainers, who in turn will pass it on to the children. To motivate and encourage the children to return every holiday they receive attendance certificates as a reward and winners in each age group are identified and treated to a two-night stay at a chosen venue.

These workshops not only contribute to the children’s education but also ensure that they are looking forward to coming home and spending time with their parents to create stronger family ties, something that is very important to us.

An exclusive ten-year curriculum has been specifically designed for the holiday workshops in order to ensure that no child will receive the same lesson twice during the ten years they are allowed to attend the workshops.

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Adults’ Eco Training

While hosting holiday workshops for the children of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve we realised that adults who work on various farms within the Reserve felt left behind.

While their children were constantly acquiring new knowledge about the environment and the importance of its intrinsic value, the adults themselves were not gaining the same knowledge and key objectives were not reached due to this lack of information.

We hosted the first bi-annual eco education programme for adults on the Reserve early in 2014. The main objective of the first Adults’ Eco Education Training course was to give attendees an introduction to wildlife in the form of environmental education through theoretical and practical components.

By doing this we hope to have a profound impact on society by disseminating information, thereby contributing to public discourse on socio-economic issues such as conservation.

Adults’ Eco Training also takes place at Klaserie Private Nature Reserve headquarters and runs over five consecutive days with a two hour team exam and an individual written multiple choice exam at the end of the course. Topics covered included a general introduction to the KPNR, an introduction to geology, soils and plants and the importance of water for the environment.

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Trainers

Without the dedication and the willingness of the trainers, the holiday workshops cannot function successfully. All the trainers are employed by Klaserie farm owners either as camp guards or game rangers. The trainers are volunteers and do not receive extra remuneration for this task. Environmental education is their passion and they take great pride in educating the youth of tomorrow on key environmental concepts.