Name of organisation
Green Prince Foundation
Number of staff
Number of visitors per year
Overall aims of the centre
Wetlands are very important habitats recognized globally. Their importance does not only benefit the few; but everyone directly and indirectly. In South Africa wetlands are also considered as heritage sites due to their value.
Some use wetland water for domestic purposes, irrigation, fishing and ecotourism. Mpumalanga is one of the provinces where wetlands are less recognized and protected. We, as Green Prince Foundation have taken great interest in adopting one of the wetlands near Whiteriver. We observed that the wetland was not recognized in terms of being managed and monitored.
It is polluted as a result of pressure from surrounding companies and agricultural farms. The closest places include Agrisearch Leigh farm, Metropolitan College, Lowveld Mobile Crane Hire, Remmington Steal, and LET Plumbing and Generators.
Adopting and conserving the White River wetland will solve the pollution and sewage leakage problems. In addition, the wetland is covered with more invasive alien species; leading to suppression of native species that strive in wetlands such as Palmiet, Leafyjuncus, Fountain bush, and African feather grass. Based on the destruction percentage of wetlands in South Africa, it shows that 64% of wetlands have been lost since 1990. The essentially to properly manage and protect wetlands is more urgent. On the article by Sethaba and Scholes (2021) which looked at how people value
wetlands in Mpumalanga, it was discovered that people living in urban areas engage more towards activities related to management of wetlands. This implies that engaging and partnering with White River community is going to continue to give good results towards planning, communicating and managing the wetlands around the area.
The adopted wetland, which we refer to it as White River wetland is 0.98 km away from Whiteriver town which there is an increase of pressure due to pollution. Pollution includes pesticides, fertilizers, plastic and sewage and this negatively impacts the wetland. It is highlighted by Adeey et al (2022)
that 54% of the wetlands globally are affected by pollutants from the urban areas, and this includes agricultural effluent. It is also dominated by invasive species which mostly result in suppression of native species. The observed invasive species found on the wetlands includes, Water hyacinth, Water fern, Spear thistle, Purpletop vervain, Velvet mesquite, Silver wattle and Black wattle. Adding on the wetland threats is the increasing population, poverty, unemployment and lack of wetland awareness. The urgency to conserve this wetland is first priority in 2023. The Green Prince Foundation is known for sharing of knowledge through community outreach and advocating for the environment. Restoring White River wetlands has been a great journey for our organization especially with enough support from the community.
Description of the centre
White River Wetland has an area of 40 728.48 Squire Meters , it is near the road and school just before entering White River It support s a wide range of native wetland species which includes , fountain bush (Psoralea pinnata), palmiet (Prionium serratum), leafy juncus (Juncus lomatophyllus and
a frican feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum). It also attract lot of birds such as Yellowbreasted Pipit, Rudd’s Lark and Botha’s Lark. Amphibian species found on the wetland are Karoo toad, Natal cascade frog, spotted shovel nosed frog, yellow striped reed frog, plain stream frog, the greater
leaf folding frog, and the whistling rain frog. The wetland is also a home a one of the threatened invertebrate in the province which are threatened species, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.
Clean ups are done monthly to ensure that the wetland is clean. The community, Green Prince Foundation and surrounding schools work together in clean ups of which it is part of the educational programme for schools.
Different trainings are provided to empower people on leadership role within the community. Engagement workshop, where the Living wetlands steering committee is trained on how to effectively engage with different stakeholders towards achieving the same outcome of building resilient wetlands and conserving them for the future generation. We also visit more than 14 schools a year and provide educative talks with regard s to management of the environment, laws and legislations that are applied for which must be followed to properly keep the environment healthy Furthermore, we also do ecological assessment of wetlands, and proceed with restoration processes if required.
Main CEPA work area
Green Prince Foundation has the educational and environmental programme of which we work with schools in different areas. The programme is based in Nelspruit, White River and Hazyview. It focuses on environmental awareness covering informative content that learners need to know on climate change, biodiversity loss, wetlands, elephant conservation and human wildlife conflict.
Green Prince Foundation also take part in career exhibition programmes for Grade 12 and using social media to educate or share relevant information that is essential to communities.
With regards to communication, the organisation is involved in environmental meetings that take place on district and provincial level.
We are also part of the wetland forum in Mbombela District. Moreover, the organisation does more work that involve s community capacity building, such as project s that improve accessibility to water or water quality.
Top three successes
The projects that has worked well are the community outreach environmental awareness and educational environmental programme. The mission of our organisation focuses on sharing knowledge in the communities about the importance of protecting and preserving our biodiversity and natural resources. Therefore, activities that aims to teach and engage with learners, elders and other stakeholders in the community has been a great success. There is also a growing interest in community engagement to our wetland preservation programme. We noticed that changing a behavior of the youth especially learners towards understanding nature conservation issues require practical exposure. Many schools are lacking funds to take learners to wetlands and even the curriculum does not specifically stress the importance of wetland conservation. The Green Prince Foundation has played a critical role to fill that gap in opening an educational platform not far away from the schools in the communities.
Success of the project is also because of our staff which is mainly made up of young graduate s in different environmental fields; hydrology, zoology, climatology, forestry and environmental science. This enhances the flexibility and creativity of creating educational material to cover a wider range of content required.
Top three challenges
• Funding is a limiting factor
Starting a project with only limited funding can result to slow progress in achieving the aims and objective s of the project. It always safe to consider breaking down the project to different phases if funding is limited.
Always start each phase of the project once the funding is available to avoid leaving the work halfway undone, especially when creating trail walk or doing part of the restoration on the wetland.
• Delays in terms of application process for adoption.
Application processes always take longer time to be completed, therefore it is better to start the adoption processes early in December/January.
• Unwelcoming communities, farmers and industries.
Some community members, farmer and industries who have made it a norm to pollute are sometimes difficult to deal with and continuous engagement with community members is always important in order to gain support in such events. Especially since most wetland in South Africa are not protected, thus keeping people out can be a problem. Building a stronger and healthy work relationship with the community is very important as they can guide and protect the area most of the time.
Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials
Managing / creating habitat; Building / maintaining structures
Working with disabled people; Engaging hard-to-reach groups; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Health and safety; Project planning.
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