Creating owl friendly children, who go on to be owl friendly adults, living within owl friendly environments.

 

All our educational programmes are tailor-made to fit the school curriculum.

Educational Programme.

The first part is the educational aspect and the second part is the owl release programme. 
Education is an important pillar of the project. Our teams go out to participating schools to give presentations on owls and their role in our ecosystem. These presentations are also used to address any remnant myths believed by the township communities.

 

 

Junior Scientist Programme.

 

The children also participate in our owl pellet analysis, which contributes to our national research database where we identify the rodent species.
Each learner receives an owl pellet with coordinates in order to assess the study site. The use a skeleton key to identify the bones they find inside the pellet to find out what the owl has eaten.

 


Owl Release Programme.

School children sign up and receive permission from their parents to be involved with the project. The release program takes place over a three-week period. For the first 20 days, the juvenile Barn Owls (Tyto alba) or the Spotted Eagle Owls (Bubo africanus) are placed in an owl release box where they will be fed daily by the school children. After the 20 days, the owls are released onto the school premises. The science behind this is that the owls will remain around the school, where they will hunt for rodents and as adults, use the owl box as breeding site. The school is an ideal place for them as it is quite at night.

For the week after the owls have been released, the school children will continue to place food for the juvenile owls to support feed and continue to play the surrogate parent role. All the owls that are released through the project are owls we receive through rehabilitation centres and SPCA branches across Gauteng.

 

Owl Art Programme.

Through the project, the annual Alex Owl Day is organised. The school children have the opportunity to take part in the owl project each year, where participating learners paint the owl cut-out.  In 2017 for Alex Owl Day, we made 500 owl cut-outs for the children to paint. In 2018 our aim was to create 1000 pieces of owl masks and to get more schools involved in the owl art programme but we only managed to make 500. It is important for us that the school learners have fun as they learn. The owl art was displayed at the Knysna Timber Festival in September 2017 and the BirdLife South Africa’s African Bird Fair at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens since 2016.

Owl Naming Programme.

The Owl Naming Programme, launched 5 years ago, aims at providing generic names to the 12 individual owl species in each of the 9 African languages found throughout South Africa. Many children are brought up to think that all owl species have the same name. "Isikhova" in Zulu is used to describe a Giant Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus) as well as a Pearl Spotted Owl (Glaucidium perlatum). It is hard to appreciate owls if we cannot name them specifically. This programme is a learner-led initiative and involves schools from across South Africa.