World Wetlands Day

Celebrating wetlands and the their role in human wellbeing

The morning of Wednesday 2nd February 2022 (World Wetlands Day) saw the Vyeboom Valley near Villiersdorp shrouded in clouds and fanned by a gentle mountain breeze – a welcome respite from previous weeks of sweltering heat.

World Wetlands Day is all about celebrating our connection to wetlands and their massive role in human wellbeing. It’s about inspiring the next generation to save and restore these vital ecosystems, and protect the incredible diversity of life that they support.

The clouds lift as a school bus chuggs its way towards an open patch of grass on Moreson Farm, on the banks of the Sonderend River – the largest river feeding Theewaterskloof Dam – and transitions from river to wetland it flows past Vyeboom and into the dam.


The chatter of school kids breaks the morning calm as the bus approaches, and out pour 70 Grade 7 learners from the nearby Bissetsdrift School, excited for what the day might hold.  After a welcome and hand out of bags, pens and notebooks, the day’s activities begin.

Groups of learners move between different activity stations, spending 20 minutes or so immersing in what each had on offer. A station hosted by CapeNature uses cut-outs pasted onto a whiteboard to illustrate the water cycle. The next station is run by members from The Nature Conservancy’s high angle alien plant clearing team, who allow the kids to put on a climbing harness and teach them how to tie different kinds of knots used in rope work. Another station uses maps and models to break down how wetlands function and keep water clean.

Then there is the biodiversity station run by the Freshwater Research Centre. Here the groups shed their shoes, grab nets and wade out into the wetland to sample the freshwater life. Nets full of fish and frogs and insects and crabs are brought back to sorting trays where the creatures are closely examined and identified under magnifying glasses.


“Die water beesies is so vinnag (the water beetles are so fast)” shouts one of the Grade 7s. Another explains how she was surprised by how many different animals lived down there, beneath the water surface.

The event culminates in a hearty lunch of hotdogs, fruit juice and apples generously supplied by Moreson Farm. When it was time to go, the kids are all smiles, seemingly excited to get home and tell their families all about World Wetlands Day and the fun they’d had.

This event was hosted by The Nature Conservancy and run in partnership with the Freshwater Research Centre, Cape Nature, DFFE, the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency, the Western Cape Government and the South African Wetland Society

Thanks to the Ford Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy for supporting our work.

EFT Account Details

Account Name:               Freshwater Research Centre NPC 
Bank:                                 Nedbank Limited
Account No:                     102 680 5341    
Branch Code:                   104 309
Swift Code:                       NEDSZAJJ

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