November 30, 2008 by dyertrust

On the 12th September 2008, the 43 students of Heidi Chivell’s grade six class from Gansbaai Primary School made an investment that most school children don’t even think about. The class pooled together money from their own pockets, by saving up coins and loose change, and together bought a very important piece of real estate: an African Penguin house on Dyer Island. The class had been educated about the severe decline of the African Penguin population around the Southern African coastline, and worked together to make a contribution to assist the penguins. The houses offer the penguins and their chicks/eggs much needed protection from heat stress, extreme weather conditions, and also from predators, such as Kelp Gulls.

Following their generous donation, Mrs Chivell and the class were provided with a certificate of recognition for their purchase, and they were given a presentation on the status of the African Penguin by Tracy Shaw of DICT. Pepe Zuniga and Kari Underhill, of Dyer Island Cruises, talked to the class about DICT’s “Drum it up” recycling program, and about the proper disposal of garbage, especially plastics and fishing line. When disposed of incorrectly these objects can easily make their way onto our coasts or into the sea, and can result in injury or even death of penguins and other marine life if the animals ingest or get entangled in the litter. The class was taken to the shoreline surrounding Kleinbaai harbour and participated in a mini beach clean-up as well. This demonstrated to the class how much litter can be found on our beaches, and they were taught how much of this waste can be eliminated through successful recycling or waster management. The students were a great help, and were highly enthusiastic about all of our projects.

The week of 15-20 September is National Clean-up week, so it is important to try and find ways of keeping our coastlines clean and healthy for all of the marine animals that use them. Thanks again to Mrs. Chivell’s class, the penguins will surely be raising their feathers to them for their generosity