Conservation: Environmental School Clubs

De Beers Forevermark, as part of the De Beers Group, helps to support biodiversity conservation and research along The Diamond Route, a series of rich and diverse sites, covering around 200,000 hectares throughout southern Africa, dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, habitats and wildlife. 

Respect and love for nature is deeply ingrained in De Beers Forevermark’s and the De Beers Group's philosophy. That is why, for every hectare of land the De Beers Group uses for mining, it dedicates six hectares to conservation. This land, including The Diamond Route, covers around 200,000 hectares and is home to indigenous and endangered species, whose welfare De Beers Group takes responsibility.

Rhino Breeding Programmes

De Beers Group has been active in rhino conservation for many years, including conservation, breeding and relocation programmes. One animal under severe threat is the white rhino. Currently, conservation projects implemented by Debswana, a De Beers joint venture with the Government of Botswana, support a significant proportion of Botswana’s white rhino population through initiatives that conserve and grow the population before releasing individual rhinos 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. Students 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 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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