MANY parents don’t seem to even consider taking their kids to national parks for an outing, rather opting for malls instead.
But the truth is that exposing your kids to SA’s diverse natural and cultural heritage not only give them first-hand experience of Mzansi’s natural and cultural heritage, they will even become passionate about conservation.
Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa says the majority of children who live in and around these parks had never had a chance to visit these wild wonderlands.
Mzansi has over 19 national parks that represent the country’s rich fauna, flora, landscapes and cultural heritage.
Edna said their Kids in Parks Programme, which encourages children to learn more about biodiversity and how to sustain it, was started in 2005.
Her department partnered with South African National Parks (SANParks), the Department of Basic Education and Pick n Pay to keep the programme running.
“The sustainability of our natural environment and ecosystems lies in investing in the knowledge and development of young people so that they, as our future leaders, have an understanding of environmental concepts and issues through a variety of school and community-based environmental education activities,” she said.
Since 1994, SANParks has focused on extending access to national parks across Mzansi to children.
The programme gives pupils and their teachers the opportunity to get their first-hand experience of South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage.
To date over 51 000 primary school pupils have visited one of the 16 national parks since the programme was started 11 years ago.
The children can visit the national park closest to them to enjoy meaningful environmental education and learn about the importance of the parks, and the role they can play in conservation and tackling environmental problems.