Pick The Pom-Pom Flowers


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SOAPkidz Ė Environmental Day

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

By Stuart Martin

When the City of Tshwane put out a call for work parties to pick the Pom-Pom flowers in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Noeksie decided this was a great way to start the year. At 08:00, 20 children from Injabula arrived full of energy and excitement. After issuing them with SOAPkidz bibs and dividing them into group, we jumped onto the tractor and were taken to the area which was heavily infested with Pom-Poms. It was near the site of the old Fountains Drive-in, how many of you can remember a fond evening at the drive-in? I can, I watched ET there in the 80ís!

After an explanation of the origin of the Pom-Poms and the problems that they are causing in South Africa, we were instructed how to cut of the flowers. Each child was issued with plastic litter bags and scissors and off we went. The children were very competitive and each team tried to pick more flowers than the other. In the end we needed to explain that it was nature that needed to win and they should focus on the job at hand. I was really proud of the teams when they each started singing songs and adapting them to include the words Pom-Pom. There was a buzz in the air and this was infectious as more and more people came along and wanted to join in. Many people asked us who we were and the atmosphere in our part of the nature reserve was infectious.

After two hours, we had collected over 40 bags of Pom-Pom flowers and the children were starting to get tired so we called it a day and moved back to the picnic area to continue with our activities. Second on the agenda was the Treasure Hunt, where the children needed to visit 16 points and provide answers to the clues? As usual, youthful enthusiasm took over and the children all ran off with no plan and quickly found themselves lost! As usual they had not really listened to the briefing and as each team made its way past Camp SOAPkidz, I used the opportunity to explain how to go about the treasure hunt and how to read the map. All the teams finished the activity and had lots of fun. They got to see different trees, animals and gained an appreciation of the area and their heritage.

The final activity involved the building of mobiles from recyclable material including seeds, bottle tops, etc. They all got to work and soon children were scrimmaging through the dustbins to take out the litter they had put in earlier, wash it and use it for their mobiles. Creativity was the name of the game and many beautiful expressions of art were finished and displayed with pride!

After cleaning up and making sure we left no permanent reminders of our stay, everyone left. It was a wonderful day and as usual the opportunity to be out in nature, with the children, doing something worthwhile left me with a sense of fulfillment that is sometimes lacking in our day-to-day lives.

Kidz displaying their mobiles made from recycled material

40 Bags of Pom Pomís Picked

Everyone Having Fun

Group Picture

The Kidz making their mobile phones

Picking pom Pomís

Pick the Pom-Pom Flowers

Groenkloof Nature Conservation