The Zoo Club, a youth development programme at the National Zoological Garden (NZG), achieved another milestone by winning the annual e-steam competition coordinated by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) in Pietermaritzburg.
The purpose of the club is to encourage and support youth development and engagement through the conservation of biodiversity. The club also inspires the youth to follow a career in the natural sciences. The e-steam project by WESSA is one of the projects that seeks to develop critical thinking amongst the youth with respect to environmental issues. Through this, the members are introduced to the basic research methodology and fundamental concepts and approaches in the life sciences.
The e-steam competition was launched in 2018 in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Participating teams are expected to identify any environmental challenge in their areas. Thereafter, they should develop and implement a plan to address and resolve this challenge. Two teams of the Zoo Club, consisting of four members each, participated in the competition for the first time in 2018 and one of these teams was awarded third position.
On the 4th of May 2019 the regional workshops were conducted by WESSA to select teams to participate in the 2019 e-steam competition scheduled for 6 & 7 September 2019. Two teams from the club were selected to participate in the 2019 e-steam competition. Their projects were titled “Mr. Plastic Bin” and “Crocheting Plastic Products”. Both projects were conceptualised and implemented by club members at the National Zoological Garden to address the existing environmental challenge of waste management and plastic pollution.
The two teams presented their ideas at WESSA. Practicality, feasibility, cost effectiveness, creativity, brilliance and innovation of the concept, team work and group engagement were set criteria. The Zoo Club’s crocheting team won the first prize and was declared the e-steam champion for 2019/2020. They received an e-steam floating trophy as an award.