Give Nature a Voice: Round Square Conference, Namibia

February 19, 2020 | Girls’ College | Author: Mrs Peta Hanly

Nine Girls’ College and seven Boys’ College students from Grades 8 and 9 represented St Stithians at the Junior Round Square Conference this year, which was hosted by St George’s College in Windhoek, Namibia. With the conference theme for 2020 being “Give Nature a Voice,” it was not surprising that the conference started with an adventure hike up one of the highest mountains in Windhoek. The reward at the end of this strenuous climb was a picturesque panorama from the summit.

 

For the service part of the conference, delegates visited a rural school, Aris Grundschule in Windhoek, where they assisted with building a playground and painting classroom walls. During the evenings, the delegates were enriched by hearing some interesting guest speakers, with topics ranging from environmental issues to the value of democracy and the importance of press freedom. The key address by Leonie Prinsloo, about responsible leadership and ethical environmental practices within the African context, was particularly interesting.

 

During a creative day at St George’s, each delegate painted a tile that would form part of a Round Square wall mosaic to commemorate the conference. In addition, they made chairs from cardboard, which were donated to a nearby rural school, and students designed linocut postcards and painted coasters.

The Girls’ College delegates were fortunate to attend a pre-conference tour to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. On a catamaran voyage around the lagoon, we were joined on board by curious pelicans and hungry seals. We experienced the Living Desert Tour, where we discovered skinks (a type of lizard), the Namibian Gecko and a pregnant adder, so we really immersed ourselves in this unique wetland environment. Quad-biking, dune-boarding and kayaking excursions ensured that we also got our daily dose of adventure. 

The conference and pre-tour were an incredibly enriching experience for both staff and delegates alike. The Round Square Discovery Framework was a thread that ran through each day and we trust that the students will take what they have learnt to make a difference in the school and the wider community.

Meanwhile—back home

While the Round Square representatives were attending the "Give Nature a Voice" conference in Namibia, our students back on campus were doing just that, by protesting against climate change. 

When Grade 12 student Sohini Basu, Head of the student Environmental Committee, heard about the global #SchoolStrike4Climate, she was determined to take action and get the school involved.

Over 60 students from the Boys’ and Girls’ College braved the early morning traffic (within the gates), and marched to the school entrance, brandishing banners and placards protesting climate change. Their intention was to urge the school, and the community at large, to become more aware of the climate crisis and to adopt sustainable practices. 

The protest drew the attention of international climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who Tweeted: These are the young people fighting for their futures #ClimateJustice