Zandvlei Trust

Corinna Keup - International Student
at Zandvlei Nature Reserve, Muizenberg, Cape Town.


Corinna (19) is from a town near Dusseldorf in Germany. She applied for and was accepted via an national scholarship to come to South Africa and work with Mark Arendse teaching environmental education, which is her interest.
She will be staying with her host family the Visagie's in Grassy Park until the end of May 2010. She has a brother who is 17 at home in Germany.
There are a couple of other students at other reseves in Cape Town. A national German TV documentary is being filmed of these students activities in South Africa while they are in South Africa.


We welcome her to the "family" and will follow her stay at the reserve with interest.

The new family: Mark, Corinna, Cassy, Marisa, Romeo, Eddie.

September 2009

  • Mark has allocated her a school class Steenberg Primary (Grade 6 and 7), which Corinna prepares a lecture for once a week. Glenda their school teacher is in attendence as well. 
  • So far she has presented a lecture on local snakes already and the results of a pitfall trap exercise which they did. 
  • She has done a lecture on exotic vegetation removal as well. 
  • Another project is to make fish traps in the Sand River to catch exotic fish species. She has been with Mark to local schools giving talks about the Nature Reserve and what the community can experience and learn here.
  • Some of her other daily activities have been grass cutting, fence inspections, bird counts.

photographs by Corinna Keup

My first lesson with Steenberg Primary.  We are          I am improving and updating the broschures of Zandvlei playing a name game with an environmental                hoping more schools may visit.

Corinna participated in the Do-it-Day at the Nature Reserve which ZVT helped co-ordinated. Volunteers from schools, hospitals, local residents came to help the Reserve staff.

photographs by Declan Ross

Corinna tieing up a bag chatting to other volunteers    ......and pulling out vicia (exotic invassive plant).

 October 2009

photographs by Corinna Keup

Making dreamcatchers with the Steenberg Primary     Demonstrating an olive house snake to the Rustenberg
class, all made from natural materials.                      Primary Girls class during a reptile lesson.

photographs by Corrina Keup

Canoeing in the Marina canals with the Zerilda class.           Learning about the importance of bird ringing.

photograph by Corrina Keup

Zerilda Primary pupils doing a mini SASS. We collected
water from the Sand River canal and are searching for 
insects and aquatic Invertebrates to identify the water quality.

November 2009

                                                   photographs by Corinna Keup

Painting the EEC.                         Here I am taming the new little Corn Snake by handling
                                                   her in the morning while we are drinking tea. In few weeks
                                                   she is ready to be shown in front of school groups.

The beautiful Corn Snake.

Markings on the underside.

Catching grasshoppers for the Western Leopard
Toad and Marsh Terrapin in our office (for EE purposes).

December 2009

In December 2009 Corinna discussed the idea with Mark of building a recycling station at the Environmental Education Centre (EEC). This would become part of the education process and be a drop off station for children visiting, and importantly adults living in the neighbourhood to bring their recyclable waste. The staff all helped and it was soon completed with materials which were found and reused into the station. The "timber cover panels" are made from recycled plastic.

photographs by Corinna Keup

The site selected and the holes dug.

photographs by Corinna Keup

Cutting the poles to size.

photographs by Corinna Keup

The frame is up.

photographs by Corinna Keup

The three bags for the sorted materials labelled and clearly identified.

photographs by Corinna Keup

The Team and the reward of the effort.

photographs by Corinna Keup

The first load off to the recycling depot.

See more about the recycling station.


Year end party at Tweede Tol in Bains Kloof. Cassy made them
all a collage of photos from the years activities as a momento.

Three-Leg-Race on the Nature Conservation Sports Day with Marisa.

February 2010

World Wetlands Week 1st Feb - 5th Feb 2010.

Photos from 2nd February 2010.

photograph by David Muller

Waiting for the others to catch up. School children
from Lithu Primary in Gugulethu.

photograph by David Muller

Corinna explaining how wetlands work to filter and clean
the runoff water, before it enters the estuary.

Photos from 5th February 2010.

Children just arriving from the station. The excitment and expectation
is infectous.

Corinna introducing herself to the pupils / learners and explaining
what they are going to see at Zandvlei.

Explaining about Cormorants and Darters two bird species sitting
on a branch nearby.

One of the indoor lessons Corinna explaining some of the creatures that live in in a wetland and their importance.

Listening to questions.

Corinna telling the children about the birds at Zandvlei.

March 2010

The water project with Levana Primary Grade 7. We cut letters out of old plastic bottles and made rainproofed signboard to say, for instance:

  • Stop littering, 
  • Don't throw papers in the rivers, 
  • Don't kill our butterflies. 

We fixed these signboards next to the canals, where the class observed a lot of pollution.

We received feedback about these sign boards and 
even some responses from the people living nearby.

Carinna developed the "mind map" about the huge human impacts on the environment for EEC.

Organogram diagrams showing how we humans effect the natural environment.

The new boardwalk at the entrance of Zandvlei which Corinna built from plastic timber.

Taking water samples with Margit around Zandvlei in the Marina canals.

April 2010

Some results from the Steenberg Primary EE Club. The beautiful dreamcatchers and.... 

.......the poster about litter and recycling.

At the Biodiversity Expo at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden,
Margit and I became Green Ambassadors by signing our pledge
with our painted hand on a board.

Signing the pledge.

The code we will uphold by being Green Ambassadors and living
ecologically friendly everyday.
The green hand print was made into a fridge magnet.

City of Cape Town Nature Reserves had a stand at the Biodiversity
Expo where I am talking and showing the toad, terrapin and
snake to the public, especially kids.

The newspaper article about Recycling and the new recycling station
at the Zandvlei Nature Reserve in the Peoples Post on the 27th April 2010.
I had one response from Catwalk Cosmetics Laborities
in Capricorn Business Park. They have arranged to drop off
all their recycling once a week at the recycling station.
This is first support from the communitiy and I am really glad 
it is starting to work.
Everyboby can start to make a difference.

Our lizard project. We checked pitfalls three time a day and we are working in cooperation with SANBI. The researchers were measuring the Knoxii lizards and clipping the tail for DNA samples. 
We also found this Cape Sand Frog in the trap one morning.

The Steenberg Primary EE Club project making paper pulp out
of old newspaper pieces as example for recycling. They had fun
and learned to make a picture frame.

The deal I have with them is they bring me the old newspaper
from home and I give them their paper picture card. I force / encourage
them to start recycling in exchange for a picture card.

Making paper pulp.

Colouring in the pictures.

Sticking the pictures on the frame.

Some of the results from the class, drying in the sun.

Having fun....

May 2010

I am putting flyers in the post boxes of local residents in the Marina da Gama.
This information awareness and sharing project of mine is called the Streetnameproject.
The flyer has information about the plant or animal names of the streets they live in.

The Steenberg Primary EE Club had a combined lesson on the Western
Leopard Toad and played Snakes and Ladders.

Learning the rules.
It was the first time the game was used.

This is a game played on the large board (painted
and built by last years volunteer Simon see July).
While playing they learn about the toad and how 
we can help or harm them.

EE in front of the recycling station with the Heathfield Pimary School.
We have to educate them when they are young.

After a heavy rainfall we cleaned the overflowing littertrap at the Sand River 
near the entrance of the Zandvlei Nature Reserve to prevent litter getting
into the Zandvlei waterbody.


Making the footprints.

These pictures were from the Steenberg Primary School EE Club lesson. It was all about the Carbon footprint. First we discussed carbon dioxide, the hot house effect, global warming and climate change. Because I wanted to give them as much background information as possible, that they extacly know, why it is so good to save electricity.

In the end they could make their own Footprint and wrote inside, what they do and use, which produces carbon dioxide. We discussed what we can do to improve and decrease our carbon dioxide footprint. I combined the theoretcial part with the interactive part, so they get to know and learn that this is not something distant or remote, but also part of their lives.

Look at this BIG footprint!!                                  Writing in the footprints.

Water hyacinth removal (alien water weed).

My new and last project: Signboards in the reserve about the most important statements, we want to give to the learners visiting us.
I thought of making these signboards, because I can learn a lot better, when I see it. So that makes me a visual learner and for the kids coming to us, we didn't have visual signs of all the important things to do and consider.
That's why there are these signboards in the reserve now, which read;

  • Stop littering,
  • Recycle,
  • Save water and electricity,
  • Don't kill any living creature (all plants and animals have an important role in the foodchain),
  • if we don't act now, it will be too late,
  • Fynbos is an unique vegetation - be proud of the biodiversity in our area,
  • Leopard Toad awareness,
  • Nature cares about us - do you care about nature?
  • Open your eyes and you will see the most fascinating things,
  • Every ecosystem is vulnerable - be reliable and responsible.

All made from recycled materials.



Below, are pictures at my last Bird count. I always enjoyed it.

In the beginning it was hard work to learn all these species, but I was surprised how easy it is, when you are really interested. In the end I was amazed by all the behaviour and habits the different birds have. 

Giant Kingfisher .                              Night Heron.                                   Blackshouldered Kite.

I will miss the biodiversity of birds, when I am not here anymore. 
Now I want to learn to identify the German birds when I go home at the end of the month.

The pictures below come from Corinna back home in Germany. They were taken on her last day at the office. A traditional potjie (cast iron, 3 legged pot, placed over wood coals to cook the food), was enjoyed at the farewell lunch time by all her Zandvlei Nature Reserve family.

Corinna and Eddie making the potjie.           Corinna and Eddie fooling around and having fun.

Sitting down to lunch outside the office.                         Corinna made this keep sake for her Zandvlei family.

Corinna, Eddie, Cassy, Margit and Mark.


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