Written by Jana Lorenz and Jula Wolf
Earlier this year the Western Cape Scouts joined Capetonians in taking on the City Nature Challenge. A total of 1 141 people, our Scouts included, helped to put Cape Town on the map. A number of Scouts and Scouters were recommended for their contributions, including Scouting siblings Luke and Kaylee Fittock.
“Hi, my name is Luke Fittock (12) and I’m an Assistant Patrol Leader with the Durbanville Kraaifontein Sea Scouts. I’m currently working on my Discoverer. I’m home schooled and in my spare time I read and grow my own vegetables. I absolutely love nature and can’t get enough of it! At first I only took part to earn the special Scouting City Nature Challenge Badge. But then, I started to love it. My sister and my mother also took part in the challenge. We spent most of the day just being out in the nature taking photos. It was really fun and it was a great project to do with my family. Besides the challenge I do a lot of other things for the environment like clean-ups and removing invasive species. I also helped set up recycling bins for our Troop and when they clean out the store I help to recycle or re-purpose as much as possible rather than letting it go to the dump.”
Luke’s sister Kaylee also really enjoyed the experience! “Hi, I’m Kaylee (14) and I’m a Scout at Durbanville Kraaifontein Sea Scouts. I’ve always liked finding animals and the City Nature Challenge gave me a reason to do so. Like my brother, I started off the challenge because of the badge, but once I started I realised how much fun it was. The most fun part was crawling after insects. They are so difficult because they don’t stay still. Besides the challenge I also do a lot to protect nature. My next project will be a beach clean-up organised by one of our Cubs. I am also looking forward to introducing my Troop to the DOT (Do One Thing) campaign when it starts.”
Both of the siblings found their favourite animals during the City Nature Challenge. “Of all the animals I found, the Spotted Eagle Owl is my favourite. I think it’s the way they look at you that makes me like them so much”, says Kaylee with a smile. “My favourite animal is the Cheetah. It’s just so elegant, beautiful and simply amazing. When they purr and relax they remind me so much of house cats”, adds Luke.
But the two also found many other interesting animals and plants. “I found this amazing patch of mushrooms and also two amazing starfish! Even though I discovered them after the challenge I think they are pretty amazing and should be mentioned” says Luke as he shows us the photos he took. “The Cape River Frog was amazing”, adds Kaylee. “The one I found was so big! He just sat on a rock looking very calm until he realized I wanted a picture of him.”
Some of the nature reserves provided free entry to participants of the City Nature Challenge. This made it easier for the two Scouts to explore them. The nature reserves the duo visited included Kirstenbosch Gardens, Durbanville Nature Reserve, Arderne Gardens, Doordekraal Dam, Tiger Water Front, Rondebosch Common, Maajik Forest and anywhere else that looked like it could support life.
The siblings were part of a number of Scouts and Scouters whom were awarded for their contributions. “I was surprised as I didn’t expect to be given an award. I think it’s very nice that they recognised people’s work and I’m grateful that they gave a prize to both, me and my sister” says Luke. “I will definitely take part again! It’s not only about fun, it’s also important for Cape Town” continues Kaylee. “Cape Town’s nature is important because we have such a high biodiversity and it would be a tragedy to lose it. Nature is not only crucial to people’s physical health but also for people’s spiritual and mental health.”
The City Nature Challenge is a global competition between cities and aims to integrate societies in the collection of biodiversity data. People are asked to take photos of local animals and plants and ‘report’ them. The city with the most observations and species identified receives an award. 159 cities from around the world took part. Cape Town came out on top with 53 763 observations and 4 588 species being reported.Find our more about the City Nature Challenge here.
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