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Kathryn's Discoverer Community Service Project

"A large area in Park Island, Marina Da Gama has been cleared for possible future use as a place for dogs to run free, to limit how much the dogs disturb the natural habitat of other animals." I decided to choose this project to complete my Discoverer Community Service Advancement and also use it towards my World Scout Environment Badge, because at the moment, there is an alien grass growing through the soft indigenous vlei grass. It has horrible sharp barbs that stick into the fur of animals which hurts them and sometimes they need to be surgically removed.

I sent an email to Cherry Giljam who ran the indigenous garden project that Sarah ran for her Community Service Project and that I attended. Cherry also gave us the idea to run this project. We will be serving our community on Saturday, 20th February from 14h00-17h00, and again on Sunday, 21st February 2021 from 14h00-17h00 for a total of 6 hours. I found out who would be interested in attending this service project, and all 10 spots on both days were filled quite soon. I was very surprised but happy that I had so many volunteers.

All Scouts that attend this project will need long pants, old good quality gardening gloves, closed shoes, a mask, something to eat and drink, cap, scarf and a purple Scout t-shirt, and always remember a consent form. I messaged the group to see if any of the Scouts wanted to join, so now all the spots are full.

It was exciting learning how to do my first permit on Scouts Online. I had to fill in all my personal information, like my date of birth, my number and other things. I also had to do two, one for Saturday and one for Sunday.

My Community Service Project is really a big deal and it is important to me.

Day 1

Date: Saturday, 20th February 2021

Venue: Park Island, Marina Da Gama

Time: 14h00 - 17h00

People who came to help: Sibu, Gabriel, Saskia, Ruan, Mathew M, Hannah, Orah, Nova, Jamie and Olivia. Olivia came to support me as she is not in 1st Muizenberg, she is a friend from 2nd Bergvliet but she is also in my class, so I invited her as a friendship building activity.

I was very happy that everyone who said they would come, did attend my Community Service Project. We did lots of raking and we also found quite a bit of broken glass which we picked up and gave to the Scouter who came with.

It was very hot and we all had to wear long pants, because of the grass that we were removing. It was quite easy to pull out the alien invasive grass, but there was a lot of ground to cover.

I met Cherry Giljam in person. She is from a place called The Friends of Park Island which started in 1999. They look after the vlei and work with the people from the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve to keep it in good condition. She was very nice and helpful and reminded me a lot of my great grandmother.

She told us that it would be a good idea to wear gloves and closed shoes or boots, as the grass seeds can be very irritating if they get stuck in socks. She was also very kind to provide us with a big flask of nice cold juice and watermelon. It was very sweet and refreshing, because we were working so hard. Cherry gave us a bit of the history of Park Island. She told us about the wildlife on it.

The animals used to live in the bush on the other side of Prince George Drive, which is now known as the Capricorn shopping centre. There are also houses and complexes now. When they started building there, the animals started moving towards Park Island because they needed a safe place to live. They moved there because humans were building structures that destroys their natural habitat. My aunt said that when she was younger, Capricorn was all bush. There were no buildings.

Wildlife found on the Island: Buck, snakes, moles, mongooses, tortoises and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might find an owl. Not too long ago, someone walking their dog didn’t put a leash on their dog so it attacked a young buck which was a problem for all the animals there. This is why they are fencing/closing off an area in the park where dogs can run around off the lead, so that people put them on the lead in the rest of the park and they don’t hurt more animals. This is why I thought it was a good place to run my project.

Day 2

Date: Sunday, 21st February 2021

Venue: Park Island, Marina Da Gama

Time: 14hoo-17h00

People who came to help: Sibu, Callum, Nova, Saskia, Dom, Jaime, Matthew M, Olivia and Sean. My mom and sister were also there. Gabriel came for the first hour.

We got there about 20 minutes before everyone else was going to get there. My mom got a watermelon and Cherry offered to cut it up for us for our break. We saw an adult mongoose run by, and then 2 baby mongooses shortly after that. My auntie didn’t get to see any of them, she was too late, and she was sad about it.

We took everyone’s temperatures and made sure everyone had what they needed before going in to do the work. Cherry told us about the history and the project again like she did on Saturday because there were one or two new faces on Sunday.

Everyone grabbed their rakes and we all got to work. We worked in groups.

Everyone worked really hard and I was very grateful. I was also grateful that my patrol leader (Saskia) was there. She didn’t need to be, but she was there to support me for my community service project.

I did have to tell some people to stop chatting and get to work. Close to the end of the day, I told everyone to grab a black bag and start packing the piles of grass into them. Everyone did it without complaining.

When we finished, Saskia suggested that the Scouts that came should “fall in” to me and everyone did the Scout salute. I thanked them all for taking time out of their weekend to help me with my service project.

The environmental problem is that as time goes by, more and more people are needing homes, which means less and less animals have homes. If we continue building our homes on theirs then soon there will be no natural habitat for them to live, because of overpopulation, which is why animals are going extinct. This is not just happening in Muizenberg but all over the world like the Rain Forest in South America.

The solution is to protect and look after their homes if we can. Places like Park Island is home to many animals. We also need to stop having so many babies because there are too many people in the world.

I enjoyed working on this project because it was fun and important to the community. It was fun doing it with other Scouts.


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