2018 WESSA Annual Review

The WESSA uMngeni Valley team is our biggest asset. From qualified teachers, ge- ography experts and environmental science practitioners through to nature conserva- tionists, hike leaders and #PeopleCaring- ForTheEarth, the team working at WES- SA uMngeni Valley bring the courses alive through practical experiments and tasks, and their enthusiasm for outdoor learning. We have made significant investments to ensure that our new programmes and facil- ities provide the optimum learning environ- ment for curriculum-based fieldwork and environmental education. Over the past six months, we have upgraded and launched the following: • An IT and Geographical Information Systems hub with 20 computers loaded with ESRI ArcGIS and QGIS software. • An Ecology Hub with microscopes, digi- scopes and the resources for collecting, observing and identifying specimens found in the field. • An e-STEAM Hub, which is our own creative space for brainstorming, prob- lem-solving and thinking. • A permanent weather station network that collects live weather data and feeds it onto our data-collection platform. • Three large classroom and presentation areas to accommodate larger groups of students. We have also invested in state-of-the-art technologies that can be used during pro- grammes to improve the accuracy of data collection, which include: A Facility with State-of-the-art Technology

• A full set of data-loggers and probes to measure a wide range of abiotic factors. • 6 weather stations with wi-fi capa- bility for the field. • A drone and two Go-Pro cameras for live video recordings. • Water and soil testing kits. WESSA uMngeni Valley has a safe and comfortable 900Ha education facility with accommodation, ablutions and upgraded catering facilities that have been expanded to cater for larger groups. The road and trail access into the reserve has improved so groups can visit and study several unique habitats in a beautiful and stimulating environ- ment. Due to our location, we can also offer field trips to study History, Social Geography, Environmental Quality Sur- veys and leadership and team-building activities in the local area. WESSA uMngeni Valley is now offer- ing the three-year President’s Award Programme. We offer Bronze, Silver and Gold Journeys and a five-day Res- idential Project on-site. We have also successfully run both the Phakama and ABCD programmes and facilitated the skills requirement too. Our team has also undergone an abseiling qual- ification course, and over the past year, we have hosted seven trail runs, two mountain biking events and many climbing experiences.


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