21 April 2009

e-Kapa website on Cape Town's Lowlands


















Cape Town’s lowland ecosystems are extremely threatened. Nineteen percent of the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos remains, of which only 0.1% is protected. Education is desperately needed to help people understand and appreciate the value of the small surviving patches of these lowland ecosystems, which have incredible value not only to the citizens of Cape Town but to the world, as these areas contain many extremely threatened plants and animals that are found nowhere else. For example, most of the 65 plant species that are found only in the city limits and threatened with extinction, are found in these patches.
The Botanical Society and the City of Cape Town have produced an education resource called ‘e-Kapa: Cape Town’s Lowlands - A Global Treasure’. Alice Ashwell, an environmental educator, wrote the material and Martin Cocks and his team from the International Ocean Institute Southern Africa at UWC converted the text into a richly illustrated resource. Using the resource’s comprehensive teacher’s guide with its clear curriculum links, teachers may teach many types of lessons, not only in biology but in other subjects such as geography, languages or history. The web-based resource acts as a library of information for the lessons and contains comprehension activities related to the content of each of the ten modules. Although the focus of the resource is the Cape Flats it nevertheless contains a great amount of information relevant to all parts of South Africa.
Although the resource, available in English and Afrikaans at this stage, is aimed at learners in grade 7 - 9, it is certainly very useful to anybody who wants to know more about the natural environment around them. It is being distributed to schools in the Western Cape through the Khanya Project and is also available on CD-ROM from the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department and on the web at http://www.ekapa.ioisa.org.za/.