On 23 June 2015 a group of 29 students from the University of Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom joined the Agulhas National Park’s management team to assess the Working for Wetlands past interventions in the Bosheuwel and Springfield areas and a Phase 2 planning session.
Dr Kenny Lynch, Reader in Geography and a National Teaching Fellow at the School of Natural and Social Sciences brought them out to South Africa to broaden their learning experience.
Dr Michael Grenfell from UWC’s Department of Earth Sciences and lecturer on Environmental and Water Science in collaboration with the Water Research Commission escorted the students on their visit. The University of the Western Cape is currently busy with research into water quantity and quality on the Agulhas Plains in conjunction with the Water Research Commission.
The students were really excited about their encounters in the area from their stay at the Agulhas Back Packers, including the Southernmost Tip of Africa and the Rasperpunt Fish Traps in the park.
Part of their visit also included a trip to Elim where they had lunch at the Mill house and visited some cultural sites.
In their feedback they highlighted that they are really impressed with the area and the park’s conservation efforts. They thoroughly enjoyed the day’s fieldwork and learned a lot from seeing the interventions in the field.
A panel of wetland experts could also answer some of their questions, from monitoring, social impacts and wetland rehabilitation.
In the words of Dr Grenfell: “The students benefited enormously from this experience”.
Due to the wet conditions and traveling by luxury coach they could not really go off road or on the beaten track for more field trips.
For their future annual field work they are planning to use the Agulhas Training Centre as their base to interact and learn more about the work done in the park.