Underberg Primary School Eco-Group joins MyBirdPatch
When the MyBirdPatch project started just over a year ago, a large focus was made on trying to get ordinary birders to contribute to bird monitoring programmes by making simple lists of birds from small patches that were familiar to them i.e. birding in your comfort zone. Gardens were identified as a good place to start and many observers subsequently signed up to register their gardens and submit lists to MyBirdPatch. Another focal area that was identified was schools. Sportsfields and landscaped areas within school grounds often provide ideal micro-urban and suburban habitats for many species and these would be ideal patches to monitor, especially within the urban conservation context.
Graham Kletz, who is one of our ardent contributors to MyBirdPatch, started encouraging learners at Underberg Primary School to get involved. This rural Kwazulu-Natal school has an Eco-Group and recently they signed up to take part in MyBirdPatch. With their principal, Mr Mike Corlett, as supervisor, and Graham providing some guidance and expertise, the group has registered their school grounds as a patch and have started monitoring the birds. Mike says he is excited about this initiative and has even registered as a patcher himself. The school also has the honour of being part of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa's (WESSA) eco-school initiative which promotes an eco-friendly and healthy school environment.
It is great to have schools like Underberg Primary participating in MyBirdPatch. Building bird awareness and providing learners with simple monitoring skills can only bode well for biodiversity conservation into the future. Who knows, perhaps some of our future ornithologists and conservationists might just come from Underberg Primary! The ADU salutes the Underberg Primary Eco-Group and hope that they will enjoy taking part, but most of all have fun recording their birds and submitting their lists. They form another important piece in the bio-diversity conservation puzzle.
The Underberg Primary School Eco-Group (left to right): Sydney Wilkins, Luke Hayward, Jack Bennett, Charity Dlamini, Mr Mike Corlett (Headmaster), Nadine Conradie, Leah Suchet (Head of Eco-Committee), Celine Cloete, Minenhle Keswa, Rowan Garret, Eirene Flamand (Teacher incharge of Eco-Committee)
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