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The Timbavati Bush School
The Bush School was established within the Timbavati Private Nature reserve in 2001 by a Timbavati member (at his personal cost), and has since become a project of the Timbavati Foundation.
The Timbavati Bush School educates learners from 35 schools in the area, teaching them the fundamental facts and processes for conservation and environmental awareness. This is achieved through environmental education safaris at our bush school camp, educational sessions at high schools, weekly educational sessions at primary schools, quarterly field trips for primary school learners as well as teacher workshops and training. In 2013 the new bush school was opened, locatedÂÂÂ on the Guernsey road near Phelwana Game Lodge, Hoedspruit.
The new school features a fully equipped lecture room and expanded accommodation for future students. In fact, the new facility can sleep 24 students vs the old school's 8. The students will be split into 3 rooms, sleeping 4 per room. There is also staff accommodation as well as volunteer accommodation. This will mean no more driving backwards and forwards between Chimanimani and the current school allowing for a considerable saving in travelling expenses. A fully equipped hospitality department will run an efficient kitchen and dining area, and will prepare all meals including packed meals for field trips. By increasing the number of students in nature conservation, we are more optimistic that we can help spread the word about the value of conservation in the local communities. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Leadwood Trust and the de Villiers family, our Trustees, supporters and businesses who help us in so many ways. Their ongoing support is vital to our conservation efforts.
Environmental Education Safaris:
The bush school offers learners the opportunity to take part in environmental education safaris. The children are selected based on the subjects they are taking for matric, as well as their interest in conservation related activities. Approximately 900 learners are canvassed each week to take part in our curriculum.
The children are accommodated at the bush school and receive experiential lessons and practical workshops in conservation, environmental best practice and eco-tourism. The 3 day course covers various aspects of conservation including: interaction between animals, bird and plant life, water conservation, establishing vegetable gardens as well as poaching problems and damage to our heritage as a result thereof. These learners are trained as conservation leaders and equipped to identify environmental issues such as soil erosion and water pollution at their schools and home environment.
A key focus of each course is to highlight the ever present rhino poaching problem, and to educate the learners on the role we all need to play in combating this issue.
During their time at the Timbavati bush school, children also enjoy game drives to get up close to the wildlife, with practical hands-on experience with the plants and animals. Approximately 300 children attend the 3 day course each year and 2 students per annum are given bursaries to further their studies.
While the bush school is in progress, as part of our outreach program two facilitators visit the surrounding primary & high schools and provide an ongoing conservation class to the various school grades. Back at school the learners identify and report any environmental issues to the bush school environmental educators. These identified issues are addressed as part of their conservation & environmental projects. The schools are judged on this as part of an annual competition.
The competition serves as a tool to monitor environmental improvements. Annually, the schools are evaluated on the following criteria: school tidiness, water saving, permaculture garden, recycling, erosion control, compost heap, planting of indigenousness plants, and alien plant control.
Also, In collaboration with the Southern African Wildlife College and the Kruger National Park, learners from the 3 top performing schools are sponsored for a 3 day environmental education trip to the Pretoriuskop rest camp in the Kruger National Park.
Click here to read a letter which we received from the Education Department regarding their partnership with the TPNR
Here are a few pictures of our bush school:
Here are a few pictures of our local school outreach programme: