Learning about fynbos

The FynbosLife lowland Fynbos nursery stand.

Hundreds of school pupils enjoyed learning about fynbos at Tokai Park last week.

The 600-odd children from Grades 1 to 12 came from schools surrounding Tokai Park.

They were taking part in a Nature Week, hosted by Friends of Tokai Park to bring the theory of the life sciences curriculum to life, using hands-on activities in the park.

One of the activities of the morning programme was a “scientific experiment” led by Dr Tony Rebelo, chairman of Friends of Tokai Park.

The pupils were introduced to Cape Flats sand fynbos and they had to search for and identify plants and animals, and get to know the most common species.

Another highlight was a food-web activity using a rope to link different species and demonstrate how all nature is connected through energy transfer, and how any disruption can have cascading effects on all other elements in nature.

The pupils were exposed to various ecological principles, including succession and fires; fynbos biodiversity and restoration, and population ecology and food webs.

The afternoon programme focused on community service and involved a brief introduction to Tokai Park along the Restoration Trail, followed by some competitive pulling of alien invasive golden wattle seedlings to help save the critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos and its threatened species.

Friends of Tokai Park is a community organisation that is made up entirely by volunteers who support efforts to restore the Cape Flats sand fynbos.

Taking part were life sciences classes from Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology, Constantia, Hillwood, St Mary’s RC and Westlake primary schools, Shiloah Christian School, as well as eco clubs from Bergvliet Primary, John Graham Primary, Norman Henshilwood High and Sweet Valley Primary.

The project was led by Dr Alanna Rebelo of the Friends of Tokai Park, and funded by the British Ecological Society (BES) and the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET), though the Table Mountain Fund (TMF).

Following Nature Week, R4 000 was raised at the Fynbos Festival, also organised by Friends of Tokai Park on Sunday March 15. To raise funds for the endangered fynbos, there were 11 fynbos vendors (including fynbos nurseries, artists, fynbos gin and honey liqueurs) and 14 fynbos conservation organisations at the festival at The Chilled Market at the Range in Tokai.

There was also a fynbos restoration guided walk, a City Nature Challenge bioblitz led by the City of Cape Town, an indigenous edible plant demo and a raffle to support lowland fynbos conservation.

The festival also had a Funbos programme for children, with a “race to save the fynbos” by CTEET.