Three outstanding students have been selected for the 2015 Eden Project exchange. Congratulations to Snow Godlo, Zokhanya Bikani and Ntembeko Magwada - accompanied by the Foundation's Thilivali Murivhami - who will be spending three weeks in Cornwall at the world famous visitor attraction that includes the world's largest rainforest in captivity.
The exchange to Eden provides an, otherwise unlikely, opportunity for Green Futures indigenous horticulture students to visit the UK to learn, work overseas, share their knowledge and gain experience. The exchange gives the students the ability to travel outside of South Africa for the first time, and to work with UK botanists and experience flora from other biomes. They return more confident in themselves, wiser and with a completely invigorated outlook on life. At least 8 of our students who have participated in the Eden Exchange, have been inspired to study further and now form part of the Grootbos Foundation and Grootbos Private Nature Reserve teams, in capacities as diverse as Life Skills Lecturer, Nature Guides and Project Facilitator. For all students, it is a life changing experience.
Both the Eden Project (www.edenproject.com) and the Grootbos Foundation share the ethos of protecting the amazing diversity and value of plants to humanity, the importance of conserving our natural heritage and showcasing our dependence on nature. This message is strongly reinforced to our Green Futures students through their exchange visit to Eden each year.
Over the last thirteen years, since the inception of the Green Futures College, we have managed to send three successful students on exchange to Eden, on ten separate occasions. Eden has funded the annual three week experiential training opportunity, on site in Cornwall. Private donors, including the British High Commission on previous occasions, have funded the travel and associated costs to the UK for three students and a supervising staff member. Eden and Grootbos have also developed a partnership whereby Eden staff come to Green Futures College, situated on the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, to learn and experience the Cape Floral Kingdom – the smallest yet most diverse of the world’s floral kingdoms.
Thanks to the generous support of the British High Commission in 2015, Snow, Zokhanya, Ntembeko and Thilivali will be travelling abroad for the first time ever to gain practical work experience in the gardens at Eden. Congratulations team and good luck with your preparations!