November 2017 – Children in the Wilderness (CITW) has launched the innovative first edition of the Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Resource Book, to help drive the progamme’s goal of taking keen CITW Eco-Club members to the next level; preparing them as leaders and for careers in environmental conservation, ecotourism, hospitality and more, as well as becoming the custodians of our natural heritage.
“It gives us great pleasure to launch the first of three YES books, and to invest our energy and resources into developing these much-needed educational tools for our YES programme. This will not only benefit our YES members but also other learners and educators at the schools in the communities that we partner with. The books come at a time when many education systems in southern Africa are facing huge shortages with regards to environmental teaching and other resources and we hope that the introduction of our YES books will help alleviate some of these challenges and position us to deliver the right resources, at the right time, and for the right age groups”, noted Bongani Baloyi, CITW Regional Programme Coordinator.
Book One has been developed as part of the YES teaching material to be utilised primarily by Eco-Mentors. It is suitable for primary and secondary school learners and will be used when conducting YES lessons in Eco-Clubs, annual camps and community settings, depending on the needs of each region.
CITW currently engages with more than 70 schools in six African countries. The key modules covered in the book will provide an extension to the concepts introduced in Eco-Clubs and annual CITW Camps, with an overall focus on career guidance, leadership, team building, communication and further environmental education.
CITW hopes to publish and distribute a second and third resource book in 2018. “The idea behind having three resource books in each of the programme elements is to ensure that there is a three-year cycle so that children are exposed to new content that is well structured and builds on the previous year’s learnings”, said Lisa Witherden, CITW Environmental Education Resource Developer. She pointed out that the introduction of these books will provide in-depth lessons on important environmental topics with the aim of encouraging students to start conservation projects in their communities.
YES is a CITW programme specifically designed to cater for the learner who displays exceptional potential and commitment to environmental conservation when participating in CITW Eco-Clubs and the annual CITW Camps. The YES groups are smaller in size, allowing for focused work groups and increased participation. This enables the mentors to spend more time with the learners whilst simultaneously providing an opportunity for mentors to identify candidates for the CITW School Scholarships, Tertiary Education Scholarships and Internships. Last year CITW provided more than 400 Primary, Secondary and Tertiary scholarships to students showing a particular interest in conservation and the tourism industry.