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Conservation: Environmental school clubs | Forevermark

Conservation: Environmental School Clubs

Forevermark, as part of the De Beers Group, helps to support biodiversity conservation and research along The Diamond Route, which links seven rich and diverse sites covering 145,000 hectares across southern Africa. The Diamond Route is dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, habitats and wildlife. 

Respect and love for nature is deeply ingrained in Forevermark’s and the De Beers Group philosophy. That is why, for every hectare of land the De Beers Group uses for mining, it dedicates five hectares to conservation. This land, including The Diamond Route, covers 164,000 hectares and is home to indigenous and endangered species, for whose welfare De Beers Group takes responsibility.

As well as promoting biodiversity through active conservation, De Beers is also involved in research and education. In 2016, the De Beers Group hosted the seventh Oppenheimer De Beers Group Research Conference which presented research findings to 200 delegates from a wide range of national and international institutions. 

Rhino Breeding Programmes

Forevermark, as part of the De Beers Group, contributes to the protection of endangered species. De Beers has been active in rhino conservation since the 1970s, including conservation, breeding and numerous relocation programmes. One mammal in particular danger of extinction is the White Rhino. Currently, the De Beers Group is investing in projects in Botswana which conserve and grow the White Rhino population, before individual animals are released back into the wild.

Environment School Clubs

The Motswedi wa Thuto Education Centre in Botswana was founded in 1993 to drive conservation education in Orapa and the surrounding Boteti region. It offers awareness-raising talks and training programmes, and promotes environmental clubs at schools in the local district and beyond.

The Environment School Club scheme was started in 2005 by Orapa Game Park staff to develop relationships with schools in the communities surrounding the mining areas. Pupils from different grades join Environment Clubs once a week to discuss environmental issues and work on small projects, such as protecting indigenous trees.

Once a year, each school’s Environment Club visits the conservation area to experience the park’s landscape and wildlife. Every year, between twenty and thirty schools from Botswana visit these conservation sites.

The Environment Clubs help young people to understand their impact on the planet and take action in its defence. Staff at the Education Centre also encourage pupils to protect the environment back on their school campuses, by coming up with new ways to conserve water, hosting clean-up campaigns and getting involved in community recycling.

The combination of field trips and on-campus activities helps educate a new generation about the mutual dependency of man and nature. The staff’s infectious enthusiasm also inspires these young people with the desire and motivation to grow up into adults with a love and respect for the natural world.

This focus on care, fun and respect has a positive impact elsewhere in young peoples’ lives. Onkemetse Strydom is a teacher at Livingstone House School in Botswana, which offers free education for 400 children of mine employees and other local residents. Onkemetse runs the school’s Environment Club, where twice a week, the club’s 40 members meet to discuss environmental issues and visit the nearby game park. They also do activities such as tree planting.

Onkemetse says the Environmental School Club has had knock-on benefits in her pupils’ home lives, where their new-found knowledge and enthusiasm has rubbed off on their friends and families.

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