Inspiring the scientists of tomorrow on ways that they can help today: A tour of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve

The Umvoto Foundation (TUF) in collaboration with the International Association for Impact Assessments South Africa (IAIAsa) hosted a tour of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve on the 27th of November 2021. This was an educational, fun field trip, for students in the environmental science (and associated) fields. 

The event began with a presentation by TUF on The Nexus of Art and Science: A Case Study of the Cape Flats Aquifer and Lotus Canal. The students were captivated and intrigued by the importance of the aquifer and Canal and how transformative arts can assist in improving the way we value water. This led to stimulating questions and engaging conversations with the students.

After the presentation, the students were taken for a tour around the Nature Reserve, exposing them to the significance of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve in the context of its biodiversity, the underlying Cape Flats Aquifer, climate change and community empowerment. Some of the work the Nature Reserve implements to empower the local communities includes education on conservation, recycling, biodiversity, plant propagation, urban farming, pollution clean-ups, and water conservation.

The students were also taken to the Lotus Canal adjacent to the Nature Reserve. Here they were exposed to the pollution challenges of the area and some of the activities that are being implemented to re-vitalise the space such as clean-up programmes and the inspiring art murals along the Lotus Canal.

Educational outreach events such as the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve tour can play an integral role in fostering an understanding of social responsibility concerning the environment and water resources. TUF strongly advocates for environmental education because it promotes critical and creative thinking and inspires students to become more engaged with their communities.