Environmental conscience blooms early at De Wetshof

by De Wetshof Estate
An awareness of the natural environment and the importance of preserving these wonders are instilled in the De Wetshof community from an early age.  
At the De Wetshof Crèche, where pre-school and primary school children of the farm's staff are cared for while their parents are at work, the Nature in Concert Conservation Cubs ensures these youngsters learn to appreciate their natural surroundings from an early age.

According to Lesca de Wet, conservation principles and an environmental awareness have always been part of the De Wetshof ethos. "For generations our farming practises have centred around environmental sustainability," she says. "As part of a unique natural environment with an abundance of plant and animal life, all our people are made aware of the importance of cherishing these surroundings – for today, as well as for future generations," she says.

To ensure that this "environmental conscience" is formed at an early age, Lesca has taken this learning to the De Wetshof farm crèche where the children are now actively encouraged to look at the natural world around them with appreciation and to cultivate an awareness of how important it is to protect the plant and animal life for the future.

"This programme, the Nature in Concert Conservation Cubs, has made the children look at the world around them with new eyes," says Lesca.

"Book in hand, they are encouraged to identify plant and animal species, and regular trips are undertaken away from the farm to areas in the vicinity where animals can be viewed at closer quarters. While it is great fun and the enjoyment and excitement of belonging to their very own Conservation Cubs has instilled a feeling of ownership, we believe that these early lessons will set the children up to become responsible adults who will lead conservation- minded lives and pass these values on to future generations."

During a visit to the crèche, it was apparent that the Conservation Cubs was being taken to heart - from the infants right through to those in their early teens. Notebooks with sketches of birds and buck were eagerly shown, as well as lists of birds that had been seen in text books, but were still to be spotted.

The highlight is the natural "gallery", panels adorned with colourful sketches of flora and fauna made by the youngsters, an activity that has shown there to be a couple of budding artists among the future custodians of nature, too!  

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