A Natural Gem
The Edith Stephens Wetland Park is a magnificent natural area in Philippi where the Cape Flats Aquifer rises to the surface to create a botanical gem where young and old come to experience nature.
The City of Cape Town, the Table Mountain Fund and the National Botanical Institute have been involved in extensive rehabilitation of the site. The Working for Water project has removed alien trees and planted indigenous species to restore the park to its original state. An outdoor amphitheatre has been created for events such as music, dance and theatre. This create entertainment and leisure options for Philippi residents, and provides an opportunity for the local community to showcase its talents.
The Edith Stephens Wetlands Park is known among botanists for having a species of plant called Isoetes that is endemic to the Park – in other words it occurs nowhere else on earth, making it one of the botanical ‘hot spots’ of the Cape Flats. The Park is also a popular venue for bird-watchers, as the wetlands attract many bird species.
As much as it is a gem of biodiversity, the park serves another need in the local community. On the property, the Western Cape Education Department has established the Western Cape Primary Science Programme (PSP) – a teacher in-service training and support organisation that has been working since 1985 to address the inequalities in education in South Africa.
The PSP aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning in South African primary schools in the critical fields of Mathematics & Numeracy, Natural Sciences & Technology, Environment, Language & Literacy Development and Social Sciences.
The PSP runs environmental courses for teachers using the extensive outdoor resources available on this site. After each course, teachers are invited to bring their classes for an environmental outing to the Park. The activities with the primary school learners are co-facilitated by the teacher and an environmental PSP facilitator.
PSP projects provide significant support to primary school teachers and the organisation develops teacher support materials and resources.