The Nature Site Guiding Initiative was instituted by the Western Cape Community Education and Training College and funded by UIF. Unemployed individuals throughout the Western Cape were encouraged to apply for this 6 months skills development program. Five hundred individuals were eventually selected. The course commenced in October with 2 months intense theory covering various environmental topics such as fynbos, spoor identification, wild animal identification, orientation in the field, health and safety while conducting tours, code of conduct and good work ethic. All learners had to submit portfolios of evidence and successfully complete both formative and summative tasks before commencing with their practical training.
Thereafter the learners were supposed to be placed in nature reserves for 4 months but due to covid related issues, this did not happen and facilitators and environmental professionals are now conducting their fieldwork experience.
Sonia Cook, a qualified Nature Conservationist (Honours NC) was contracted as facilitator by Contour Enviro Group to conduct the theoretical training, and is currently acting as mentor for the practical program in Knysna and Mosselbay.
She led the group on a nature tour of the Steenbok on Friday 9 April, and was assisted by Steenbok volunteers, Letti, Marina and Diana who shared information about the Reserve and answered questions posed by the learners. Copies of Steenbok’s ‘Look Deep into Nature’ book were presented to the top learners.