The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) is a South African environmental organization which promotes participation in caring for the earth through high impact environmental and conservation projects. The WESSA Education Centers pride themselves in offering curriculum-based education in an outdoor classroom by encouraging hands on experiences as an alternative to the traditional classroom environment in everything they pursue. WESSA currently has five education centers in the country, namely WESSA Treasure Beach, WESSA uMngeni Valley and WESSA Twinstream in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, WESSA Bush Pigs in Limpopo Province and the most recent WESSA Sishen Education Centre in partnership with Anglo American, Kumba Iron Ore and Sishen Mine, near Kathu in the Northern Cape Province.

The Bird Beak Activity (Pic: Sihle Bukhosini)

In October 2019, the WESSA Sishen Education Centre hosted Koning Primary School’s Grade five and six learners (from Kuruman, Lotlhakane 2 and Moshaweng Rural areas) for a program on animal and plant adaptations. It certainly was a fun-filled day which kicked off with a brisk walk in the nature reserve to explore what nature had to offer first hand, followed by the learners viewing a brief presentation on the animals and plants they would be exposed to throughout the program.

The program contained three more exciting activities. The first was bird beak adaptations, where each learner was asked to test four differently constructed ‘beaks’ (Photo 1) on four different food types. This involved teaching about the environment with the use of technology in order for every learner to understand how the beaks of the birds are adapted to different food types, through touching, seeing and doing. Learning was further reinforced through playing a true or false game on adaptations (Photo 2) as well as a game of animal and plant Bingo (Photo 3).

It was a memorable day of learning experience through sensory activities involving touch, feel and see. WESSA is committed to promote this type of hands on learning experience to more learners, and in the process create a passion amongst the youth for the environment and caring for the earth.

Animal & Plant Bingo (Pic: Sihle Bukhosini)

For more information please contact Sihle Bukhosini (WESSA Sishen) on

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