A pristine natural river in the Cape Winelands is all the-fresher – thanks to Newberry House School.
The school, on the award-winning Lourensford Estate in Somerset West, is listed among 100 innovative schools worldwide in a publication produced for the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge.
Newberry House delivers quality international education through the world’s largest provider of programmes, Cambridge Assessment International Education, which provides pupils with world-wide opportunities to further their learning and enter global economic markets.
Newberry House’s 12 to 15-year-olds recently set their academic sights on the sustainable earth stewardship of the award-winning Lourensford Estate, home to the school’s eco-friendly campus.
Pete Miller, who oversees the upper campus programme, explained the important educational principles behind the adventure:
“The ability for our pupils to practically apply their studies about invasive and non-invasive plants and the link to preserving our beautiful fynbos biodiversity, means that these teenagers can truly have a positive impact on our local environment,” Mr Miller said.
The Newberry House team set out by 4×4 on to Lourensford’s carefully-managed landscape of tumbling rivers, multiple ecosystems and conservation programmes, which thrive side-by-side with progressive agriculture.
In the Lourens River’s dramatic, craggy gorges, the team began with an analysis of the microbiome ecology and biodiversity – identifying the most threatening species which required their priority attention.
The team were given a demarcated area, and worked with the farm’s conservation officer to identify and clear alien species.
Not only did the team clear away over a hectare of space for the fynbos to grow, but they identified rare species of Erica and Protea on the farm, which formed part of the pupils’ ongoing learning.
“This project has been a hands-on exploration of our environment, and how our adolescents can assist in the practical and theoretical work of environmental awareness and assistance. The major plants we are clearing are Hakea, pine, Port Jackson and kikuyu,” said Mr Miller.
“Our students really led from the front – at Newberry House our contribution towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals starts young.”
Newberry House is also an accredited independent examination centre for all Cambridge subjects.