LAEO created a term for the basic principle underlying everything we do: Cooperative Ecology (CoEco).
Through the application of this principle to each of the projects we take on, we are seeking to instil a sense and understanding that all life is interdependent, and that the decisions we all make affect the natural world, and then, in turn, circle back to affect the health and quality of life of each one of us.
Basically, CoEco demonstrates that all life does best when it works together with other life towards mutual survival. When this concept is implemented, it better connects everyone to nature, and is a way of getting people to better co-operate with each other and the natural world around them.
Our purpose in working to infuse the concept of CoEco into society is to bring about a New Age of constructive decision making.
Environmental School Camps
Annually, LAEO take 600 grade 7 learners from 20 under-privileged schools in rural and semi-urban areas to a weekend camp in a wilderness area where they are taught about the environment whilst being immersed in nature.
The camp is called Nyala Pans School camp and is situated the beautiful Umkomaas valley of KwaZulu Natal.
Learners from these schools would not have this opportunity due to their economic circumstance. They are educated and empowered on environmental and conservation issues as well as gaining leadership skills. The camp is life changing and these young people get an opportunity to learn how they can have a positive impact on the world. For many it instils a sense of pride, dignity and self-worth.
Some of the topics covered at camp are:
• Learners are taught how using macro invertebrates (tiny water organisms that can be seen with the naked eye such as such as flatworms, snails, dragonflies and more) from the stream can determine the water quality.
• Stories focusing on the river resources we utilize, learners do their own creative writing exercise.
• Common water is a game that looks at how water usage has changed overtime including the introduction of agriculture.
EXPLORING THE ENVIRONMENT
• The obstacle course is a variety of fun obstacles in the bush that the teams are encouraged to complete by working together. Learners sometimes need to face their fears and move out of their comfort zones to win as a team.
• Orienteering is an opportunity for learners to work as a team, explore their surroundings, learn basic map reading skills and embrace consequences of their decisions.
CREATING WITH NATURE
• Environmental art gets learners to work together in small groups to create an art piece using natural resources found on site whilst exploring the textures and colours of the natural world. This art piece is designed to reflect each member in the group.
• Nature mobiles are using natural resources found during their hike, when learners return to camp they make their own natural mobile reflecting on their time on camp.
Bring about a fundamental change in the youth so that they understand their relationship with the natural world and their responsibility in its reservation.