About the KwaZulu-Natal Region
uMngeni Valley, which was purchased by WESSA members in the 1970s, has traditionally been the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal region. The KZN region has nine affiliate members and seven branches several of which have been in existence for more than 40 years. They are: Durban; Upper South Coast; Kingsburgh; Sani; Midlands; Lower South Coast; and Highway. The branches play an important role in networking with the conservancies of which there are 85 in the KZN region.
Currently, the main projects and focus areas of the region are: environmental education, sponsoring disadvantaged schools, teacher and student support, marine and reserve ecosystem restoration, environmental monitoring, advocacy and representation. Projects include: Tree labelling, Fundraising for the Zululand K9 Units; Adopt-a-Spot Amanzimtoti Police Station; and the Umbogavango Nature Reserve Education Project.
The KZN Region is also in the process of building partnerships and networking with a number of local groups and organisations. Some of these are not affiliates as yet but may become so in time. The initiatives that are being explored focus on building sustainability in urban communities; skills development; environmental education; mentorship; and creating opportunities for income generation.
Recently this has resulted in a collaboration with the Inner City Faith-based Conservancy, to develop a campaign around waste. Other focus areas are food gardens, green rooves, water and energy audits for companies, skills development and green job creation.
Tree Labelling Project
Upper South Coast Branch
Umbogavango Nature Reserve Education Project
Umbogavango Nature Reserve was created by the 13 industrial companies that form part of the Umbogintwini Industrial Association (UIA.) The reserve celebrated its centenary in 2008. The Umbogavango Educational Resource Centre is managed and maintained by AECI, which also funds the Umbogavango Nature Reserve Education Project, a comprehensive educational programme for rural primary school children from the Amanzimtoti area.
This programme is run under the auspices of the Upper South Coast committee and includes a yearly internship for a third year student from the Department of Conservation at MUT (Mangosuthu University of Technology.) The intern makes contact with the schools and organises for the children to be brought in by taxi. They then spend a morning having lessons and nature walks through the reserve. In addition the student is involved in carrying out individual research projects for her diploma within the Reserve and at Treasure Beach and assists in judging those schools in the area that are part of the School Beautification programme.
The School Beautification programme was begun in 1992 by the Department of Environmental Health and WESSA. Since then, government and municipal departments such as the DAEA and DSW, as well as other organisation and companies such as AECI have come on board. A wide variety of teaching materials are available at the Centre provided by WESSA and the courses are in line with the syllabus for primary school pupils with a particular emphasis on the protection of wetlands, and the conservation of the indigenous tree and bird life within the reserve. Over 200 birds and 100 indigenous trees are found within the 36 hectare reserve as well as a variety of small mammals and snakes.
WESSA KZN Wildlife Handbooks
Wildlife Handbooks are intended to educate across a broad spectrum of readers, not necessarily with scientific backgrounds so the text is presented, as far as possible, in simple layman’s terms making the books accessible and appealing to a wide audience. All Wildlife Handbooks are high quality, full colour publications and come in a compact A5 size for convenience and easy reference in the field.
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