The Mike Woods Environmental Education Centre.
The Helderberg Nature Reserve provides a vibrant, living, open-air classroom for our children – an ideal place to learn about the natural environment. The Mike Woods Environmental Education Centre (EEC) is equipped to provide resources for school projects, holiday programmes, exploring flora and fauna and much more.
Educators, take a look at the Year of Special Days enviro calendar 2011 and note the special days in 2011. The Education Centre provides learning relevant to environmental days in the calendar.
In early 1991 the first ever Environmental Education programme was presented at the Helderberg Nature Reserve when a group of under privileged children sat under an oak tree of approximately 150 years old. The programme was led by Gerald Wright (chief nature conservator) who was ably assisted by Miss Anel Klue, a horticulturist who at that time was employed in the Parks and Gardens Division.
The programmes gained momentum in the following years and on request of Gerald Wright the Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve were asked to play a more prominent part in supporting environmental education.
A tiny cottage in the Reserve – which was in great need need of repair – became the EEC. It was subsequently expanded to include a lecture hall, foyer and ablution facilities with the financial assistance of the Somerset West Municipality.
The official opening of the “Helderberg Education Centre in 1996 also marked the time that the he Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve took over the running of the Education Programme and Education Centre. The Centre was subsequently renamed in honour of Mike Woods (now deceased) for the magnificent role he played in creating the Centre.
Environmental Education is done through daily school visits, environmental exhibitions, exciting holiday programmes, environmental ralks and information support through the Resource Centre.
A bus fund, Helderberg Environmental Education Project (HEEP), which is sponsored by various NGO’s and individual people, provides transport, enabling disadvantaged learners to visit the Reserve. This project is run by Mrs Freya Brett.
The Mike Woods Environmental Education Centre strives for conservation excellence and in in 2008 registered with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa’s (WESSA) Eco Schools programme to become an Eco Centre. We are proud to say that in recognition of the Friends and the Centre’s commitment to environmental education and best practice in environmental management, we have been honoured with the prestigious International Green Flag.