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A private sector initiative by seven award-winning jewellers to enable substantial numbers of school goers and university students to receive environmental education in the world’s most inspiring outdoor classroom has been initiated in South Africa.
The national and international campaign to sell The Kirstenbosch Crown Jewels Centenary Jewellery Collection, by the jewelers is to enable them raise the much needed funds to facilitate environmental education at National Botanical Gardens across the country.
The magnificent nine-piece collection – created by seven award-winning jewellers using precious metals and gemstones depicts the fauna and flora that is unique to the Cape Floral Kingdom, the richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms as it possesses more biodiversity confined to one country than any of the others.
The drought currently gripping South Africa frankly emphasises the critical need for environmental education.
It commemorates the centenary of Cape Town’s world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – the Royal Palace of the Cape Floral Kingdom – will be sold exclusively as an entire collection to ensure that its purpose and provenance is fully appreciated, and its holistic integrity and investment value is preserved for posterity.
“The aim of this initiative is to enable substantial numbers of school-goers and university students from disadvantaged communities to study the environment, using the National Botanical Gardens as inspiring outdoor classrooms,” says Christopher Reader, convenor of the Kirstenbosch Environmental Education Appeal.
Currently, he adds up to 150 school goers and university students are hosted daily at Kirstenbosch where they receive environmental training but there are nine equally wonderful National Botanical Gardens in other parts of the country where study groups are rarely seen. Lacking funds to supplement transport, entrance and tuition fees, these gardens cannot afford to offer this type of education to significant numbers.
“These gardens all have the capacity to replicate the Kirstenbosch model with the identical school and university syllabus-linked programmes, and qualified teaching staff. Every scholar, every student, should have the profound right to learn about his or her natural surroundings,” he says.
Together the National Botanical Gardens conserve over 7,400 of natural vegetation within their boundaries, and receive nearly 1.5 million visitors per annum, with Kirstenbosch – one of the World’s Magnificent Seven botanical gardens.
“They’re not just beautiful places for leisure and spiritual upliftment,” he adds. “They provide essential research into climate change, water conservation, ecosystem restoration, biodiversity and many other subjects, which make them the natural leaders in environmental education.
“As such, they inspire curiosity and a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment. What is more, they encourage the young to apply countless metaphors of nurturing and growing into their personal lives,” Reader adds.
The sale of the Collection is part of a process to give thousands of youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to learn to care for the environment from a young age, in places where they can experience nature in its purest form.
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