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SEA TOUR GETS INSPIRED BY ORCA FOUNDATION

The SAMSA SEA Pledge Tour has a successful stop in Plettenberg Bay

“What does the shark eat?” asked Ulrica Williams to the gathered pre-schoolers. “Seals!” came the unanimous response. “And how does a shark swim?” asked Williams, to which the children gleefully sprung out of their colourful plastic chairs, pointed a hand upwards on their head and swished their little bodies around their play area in a thoroughly shark like manner. The learners at Siyakula crèche in Qolweni township in Plettenberg Bay have been receiving an education unlike any other, all thanks to the Orca Foundation local charity.

For 12 years, Tony Lubner, founder of the foundation, has ensured that early childhood education be addressed in Plettenberg in more ways than one. His concerns are echoed by Siyakula educator, Primrose Landu. “Early childhood development provides the foundation for the rest of their lives,” explained Landu, Montessori trained educator, “If they lose that they will always struggle in school.”

The Orca Foundation was visited last Thursday and Friday by the Sustainable Seas Trust, who along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority is currently on the SAMSA SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour. For four weeks the team will be touring South Africa’s coast line and spreading the word of coastal conservation to everyone from young school children to the various mayors and dignitaries along the way.

The Orca Foundation echoes a similar mandate to that of SST and SAMSA which is why the team was lucky enough to be invited to experience a typical Orca agenda for two days. At the Siyakula crèche, everyone joined in the penguin dance and played the fisherman game among much more. “We factor a great deal of environmental education into the pre-schoolers day,” explained volunteer-coordinator at the Orca Foundation, Chanel Hauvette, “That seed is planted in them from a young age and they grow up with nature conservation always being a part of their lives.”

The Foundation is also a staunch supporter of Stuart Palmer’s Lunchbox Theatre Company. The company travels all around our country, performing environmental awareness shows to senior primary learners across all spectrums. The Orca Foundation paid for “The Tree Show” to be performed at Formose Primary School, where learners laughed aloud and sang along with the exuberant actors, “Ring a ring a rosy, stop the building, bring the tress before we all fall down!” The company then planted a tree at the learners new school grounds, with everyone shouting their newly learned instructions to them and finally naming him “Barry Groen die Boom.”

The SST then fitted the bill for the Lunchbox Theatre Company to perform “The Whale Show” at Kranshoek Primary School thereafter. “Who thinks there are lots of fish left in the sea?” Palmer asked the children in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. The hands shot up as everyone unanimously decided our oceans were chock-a-block full. “It’s easy to think that because we can’t see what’s happening under the water,” he explained, “But actually 90 per cent of our fish have been caught.”

A special visit by the Mayor of Plettenberg Bay, Welcome Booysen, was also greatly appreciated by the community. “Shows like this are incredible and teaching a large number of children about pressing environmental problems,” said Mayor Booysen, “And looking around I could see not only did they thoroughly enjoy it but the learners and even their teachers came away having learnt something important and new.”

“We learned how to speak whale!” exclaimed Kranshoek Primary School learner, Devandré Moos , “Oh and I also know how whales catch their food with their bubbles and that they eat plankton too.”
“We specifically target this age group of senior primary learners because these are our pioneers for change,” said Palmer, “They’re young enough to still have that youthful innocence and hunger for learning, yet old enough to take cognisance of the world around them and make a meaningful change.”

It’s with projects like the Orca Foundation and Lunchbox Theatre that the SST and SAMSA are proud to be associated with on their tour. South African’s everywhere are invited to join the SST and SAMSA on the coastal tour, to make their SEA Pledge and set their own personal goals of how they will contribute to securing the healthy future of our oceans.

Plett photo's by Des Schirlinger

The Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) team joins the Orca Trust Researchers in singing the Penguin Song on World Penguin Day at the Orca Trust financed crèche, Siyakula Pre School in Pletteberg Bay. The Plettenberg Bayleg of the tour and the visit to the Orca Foundation is part of the SST and South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour.

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The Lunchbox Theatre Company, run by Stuart Palmer, perform “The Whale Show” to senior primary learners at Kranshoek Primary School in Plettenberg Bay. The company performs entertaining shows to the children which act as excellent learning resources, such as this production which educates children to the wonders of whales and the dangers of over fishing.

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The Lunchbox Theatre Company, run by Stuart Palmer, perform “The Whale Show” to senior primary learners at Kranshoek Primary School in Plettenberg Bay. Mayor Welcome Booysen of Plettenberg Bay is helping out on the far right.

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The Lunchbox Theatre Company, run by Stuart Palmer, help learners from Formose Primary School plant ‘Barry Groen die Boom’, a Cape Ash, on their school grounds. The company performs entertaining shows to the children which act as excellent learning resources, such as the production which accompanies the tree planting, “The Tree Show,” which educates children on how important it is to plan indigenous trees.

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Did You Know?

“With every breath we take, every drop of water we drink, we’re connected to the ocean. It is our life support system, giving us more than half of the oxygen we breathe, regulating climate, and providing valuable resources.”

- Sylvia Earle (SST Patron)
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