Wessa environmental educator retires

The WESSA offices get a lick of paint from Michelle Botha from Fish Hoek and Kirsten Shaw of Kirstenhof.

It’s not your regular birthday invite: “Come and celebrate our 90th national anniversary by spending an afternoon sprucing up The Sanctuary”.

This is the Wildlife and En-
vironment’s Society of South Africa (WESSA), in Kirstenhof.

And people came, – maybe because it was also the official retirement of environmental educator Patrick Dowling.

Patrick began the Wessa chapter of his life in January 1998 after 19 years as a high school English teacher, head of department and deputy principal.

The post was environmental educator, but this morphed into various other titles over the years including senior environmentalist, head of education Western Cape and more recently education and training project manager with the training wing of Wessa that focuses mostly, but not exclusively, on developing and delivering accredited courses.

Patrick believes that the content of environmental courses should be current and relevant and therefore he has continued to be involved in compliance, policy and advocacy work as well as active sustainable living demonstration practices such as those promoted in the Sustainability Commons.

A key principle of environmental education is that one should do what one teaches about.

As a long-time Wessa volunteer member, he supports the mission of promoting public participation in caring for the earth, as important today as it has ever been.

He is grateful to Wessa for the massive learning opportunities that his posts have provided and looks forward to future productive association with Wessa, its staff, members and supporters who do such good work, on several fronts as there is no shortage of things needing doing.

At home, in Kommetjie and the far south, he will continue with worm farming, rain collection, solar electricity generation, environmental rehabilitation, democracy promotion and other efforts that seem to make sense, as well as some teaching, editing and other similar tasks that grab his attention.

For more details about Wessa, or to join, call 021 701 1397, or email wessawesterncape