PIETERMARITZBURG, KWAZULU-NATAL, 14TH JULY 2016 - Mandela Day is a global call to action that promotes the idea that each person has the power to transform the world, therefore on the 18th of July 2016, the Cascades Lifestyle Centre in Pietermaritzburg is partnering with two leading conservation groups, the Dusi uMngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) and GroundTruth, to host an educational workshop for 70 local students to receive interactive training on water conservation and river health. The Clean Rivers, Education and Training Day initiative will take place alongside the Townbush River next to the Cascades Lifestyle Centre from 8am to 12pm on Monday, 18 July 2016.
The 70 students taking part are all volunteers on DUCT’s River Care programme, which is a non-profit initiative focused on cleaning the Msunduzi and Umgeni Rivers. These volunteers regularly meet up to help clear invasive plants and waste from the banks of Pietermaritzburg’s rivers. The Cascades Lifestyle Centre will be sponsoring the infrastructure for the event, including trestle tables, gazebos and chairs, as well as refreshments for the students and training bodies. Coffeeberry Café, which is located at the Cascades Lifestyle Centre, will be sponsoring 100 cups of coffee for the workshop attendees, while Cascades Woolworths will be sponsoring lunch for the attendees. Throughout the morning, the students will be shown a range of tools that they can use to monitor the rivers they are working on, while also learning about the building blocks of a healthy river. The environmental and Government agencies conducting the training sessions include GroundTruth, DUCT, uMgungundlovu Municipality, WESSA, the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, Mondi and the Department of Water & Sanitation.
Ntswaki Ditlhale, Aquatic Ecologist at GroundTruth, says “With South Africa experiencing its worst drought in 30 years, maintaining and restoring river health has never been as important as now. GroundTruth and DUCT are passionate about helping people realise the relationship between human life and clean river systems. This is achieved by creating awareness and educating communities about aquatic ecosystems with the aid of citizen science tools. Special events, such as this, provide opportunities for communities to learn about the importance of river water and use their gained knowledge to bring about change.” Michelle Chinnu, Cascades Property Manager, says “Although this is not a public event, the public are very welcome to come over and interact with the organisations at the event. It will be very interesting”