Delta Environmental Centre is at the forefront of shaping the environmental education and the attitudes of South Africa’s future generations to preserve our ecosystems and add practical weight to the catchphrase “sustainable development”.
Greening the Future judges awarded the environmental centre a merit award in the not-for-profit organisation category — “companies with innovative strategies that improve business performance”.
The judges described the project as “a fantastic initiative with a wide reach”.
The centre, founded in 1975, aims to provide environmental education programmes to 20 000 learners and offer training programmes for 10 000 teachers annually. Last year the centre trained 5 393 learners from pre-school to ter-tiary level.
Nearly 8 000 teachers have engaged in the centre’s training programmes. In addition, the centre offers an accredited diploma in environmental education and the practical element of the University of Johannesburg’s advanced certificate in environmental education.
The centre works closely with the department of education across the three spheres of government and in all provinces.
In addition to receiving funding from government, the centre recently used funding from the Inca Capacity Building Fund to facilitate a waste management programme at 20 selected schools in the Ekurhuleni municipality.
Eskom has also assisted the centre in a programme for teachers on energy use and efficiency. Last year the Royal Danish Embassy funded a two-year project at the centre as part of its Urban Environmental Management Programme.
The centre offers a “Fun Naturally Holiday Programme” for young children to walk, make crafts, learn about the fauna and flora, enjoy courses on natural history and a Sasol sensory trail “designed to evoke use of all the senses”. Among the facilities it offers are the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary, a recycling centre, a consultancy service on environmental impact assessments and the Museum and Goldfields Discovery Centre, a natural history exhibit.
The centre works closely with orphans in the Gauteng region and last year took two groups for an outing to Rand Water’s head office. The centre has been involved in various rehabilitation projects, for example it worked with the Institute of Water Research at Rhodes University to rehabilitate the Boksburg Lake area.
The judges said this was one of a handful of NGOs that held themselves accountable for their work.
“They are continually rating their work and redefining their goals,” the judges said. “It is notable that the organisation practises what it preaches and has water and energy programmes in place.”