Tuesday, 15 October 2013

New School Tour options at The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

At the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, we have developed a new range of choices for your group of learners, Scouts or Voortrekker groups visiting us.

The standard walking tour to see all the animals at the centre has always been very popular, and combining this with other presentations and activities can make the day at the centre more memorable and educational.
Button badges from bottletops
Learners meet a cheetah

Sagira the Egyptian Vulture

You can choose from the following options and make your experience at the centre customized according to your focus area.
· Walking tour – 1 ½ hours where learners will see and learn about cheetahs, wild dogs, caracal, African wild cat and various vulture species 
· Interaction with an ambassador cheetah under controlled conditions, learners can meet a trained cheetah. (Approximately 30 min per group) 
· Educational presentation on one of the following topics:
 Tracks and Signs of the wild, Re-use, Recycle, Reduce, Wild dogs and Vultures, Endangered Endemics of SA, the small 5 (Approximately 30 min)
Cheetah Spoor Casts
· Crafts for our planet: Learners can make recycled paper, customized earrings, spoor casts of wild life on the farm and much more (approximately 1 hour) 

· Education games – learners explore the life of a cheetah and learn about our ecosystems through a session on our “prey-ground” 

Many of the new options are best suited for smaller groups, but customised tours can be developed for your school group.

Please contact me to find out more about these new options, or to make a booking on education@dewildt.co.za or 012 504 9906/7/8

Chat soon,

Rita Groenewald

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Christmas Collections for the less fortunate

Help our education team make Christmas 2013 special for our underprivileged learners...

Yes, it may be rather early in the year to start thinking about Christmas, but we would like to encourage visitors and schools to help our less fortunate learners. We are hoping to collect toys, blankets, shoes (even school shoes please...), clothes, etc that you would like us to distribute during the festive season to orphanages, places of safety, and schools in the area. Even clothes for adults are welcome, as there are many shelters in the area that will appreciate it very much! There will be a box in our reception area at the centre where these items can be placed, but if you live in PTA / JHB area, please let me know if there is enough for us to collect, and I will make a plan with lifts to our farm.

Live in another country? Don’t forget our Skype chats from one of our ambassador camps. We ask a fee for the presentation, and use the funds to visit our underprivileged learners with our ambassador animals, helping to spread the word about conservation.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday Programme June/July - Craighallpark

As parents are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their little ones safe and busy during school holidays, we developed a lovely holiday programme which focuses on teaching kiddies about being able to re-use waste to make new useful craft items, as well as learning about many wonderful creatures - Great and Small!

Fortunately this is a very flexible programme, and can be offered both at the centre, or at any venue. The scouts of Craighall Park were generous enough to allow us to use their hall free of charge during the last week of June, and the first week of July.

The participants and I had loads of fun, and I can't wait for the next school holidays to teach more learners :-)

If you would like to arrange a holiday programme near you, please contact me for further details.

Chat soon,

Rita Groenewald
012 504 9906/7/8

Celebrating Madiba day 2013 at Lowe Primary, Ga-Rankuwa

This Year CHEETA decided to green a local school in Ga-Rankuwa, Lowe Primary. Approximately 80% of the learners at Lowe are from impoverished homes, and many are orphans who live with older siblings, aunts or grandparents.

Due to prior commitments, the celebrations for our beloved former president Mandela were postponed till the 23rd July. Many prominent social workers from the community, as well as celebrity soccer players joined us to celebrate will all the learners and educators. Local businessmen donated 3 beautiful cakes, and each learner got a slice!

Slips for learners and educators
to plant at home.
Our soccer stars, Calvin Siobo from Chiefs and
Siphiwe from Swallows planting trees
Because the school grounds are quite barren, we decided for our 67 min, we would plant a lovely local plant, Elephant bush, or spekboom (Portulacaria afra). Fortunately at the Ann van Dyk cheetah centre, we have plenty of this elephant bush, and this amazing plant makes great cuttings.

We were able to plant 24 large bushes at the school, and had enough slips to send to home with all the grade 7's and educators to plant at home.

Siphiwe from Swallows gives learners encouragement
about how to achieve success in life.
Learners dance joyously. 

Learners asked the stars
to autograph their arms
Our soccer stars, as well as community members
doing outstanding work for social upliftment in Ga-Rankuwa
We were joined by our ISV volunteers who thoroughly enjoyed the day. Before the hard work began, various guests addressed the learners of the school.

Words of encouragement were spoken by Morocco Swallows soccer players, Siphiwe Mhonza and Calvin Sisobo, the headmistress and various other community figures. The students treated the guests to singing, drum majorettes and traditional dancing, before enjoying their cake slices.

We had a wonderful time celebrating a Madiba's birthday with the learners of Lowe Primary, and will definitely continue the relationship with the amazing learners and educators :-)

If anyone would like to assist this school, they are in need of many resources, please feel free to contact me directly to put you in touch with the educators of the school.

Chat soon,

012 504 9906/7/8

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Byron Celebrates his 11th Birthday in style

The Human's Cake

Byron turns 11!

Time goes by so quickly, and our first ambassador cheetah turned 11 years old on 31st  May '13. He normally visits a school and has a small party for the learners, but this year we decided to invite children from the Jedidiah Place of Safety in Hartbeespoort to the centre. This is an establishment that houses children in need of safety, and therefore there we are not able to show images of them. Joining in the celebration were a group of international volunteers that were working at the farm for two weeks.
Byron's Meat Cake

Wishing Byron well through the window
Manuela Cimato from Dial-a-picnic, was generous enough to sponsor party packs for all the children, which included juices, crisps, various toys and candy.

There was a cake for all the children, the volunteers and staff, and of course a meat cake for Byron.

It was the first time that the children from Jedidiah had been exposed to wildlife, and got the opportunity to come up and stroke the birthday boy. There was just smiles and purrs all round, and we are very happy that the children got to spend the day with us.

We wish Byron many more years of bringing joy to children and adults.

A big thank you to Manuela from Dial-a-picnic, but also to Stefanie and the team of Jedidiah for the amazing work they do everyday.

If you would like to find out how you can help the children at Jedidiah, contact them on

Contact Information

Crisis Center: 072 383 7294

Fax: 086 260 4865

GPS: S25.71237 w27.893289


Monday, 20 May 2013

Yebo Gogga 2013

Yebo Gogga 2013 (Educational Expo) - Wits University

The theme....underground

This year's theme was underground, and there were so many amazing exhibits! If your children or learners love bugs, the outdoors, dinasours, trees or anything cool, you have to get them to Yebo Gogga next year!
It's quite difficult for cheetahs to fit into this theme, and our stand was put up as a combined effort with other environmental education organisations. Co-Action is the name of the group, and at this stage represents The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots, Vulpro and Eco-Pilots. We decided our theme would be "Don't go underground, take action". At our stand, we showed horrific images to the learners and adults about pollution, deforestation etc, and challenged them to take one small action to improve our environment. This was written down as a pledge on a leaf, and hung on a net. The idea was to show the combined efforts would make a huge difference, even if each pledge individually was a small way to help. 
Learners at our exhibit
Our Pledge wall nice and full of pledges
Hanging our own pledges :-)
Scary images made learners think hard about how they could help our environment

Huge turn out

It was a great success, and there was an estimated 5000 visitors during the course of the Expo, which ran from 8th May - 12th May. Byron, our ambassador cheetah made an appearance on Saturday and Sunday after a presentation about the centre and the work we do. As always, he was a true star, and touched many hearts.

Contact details of other exhibitors:

Adventures with Nature (books)                   011 954 4675   www.awn.co.za
All-Out Creations                                             082 569 0706   www.menzo.co.za
Delta Park Environmental                             011 888 4831   www.deltaenviro.org.za
Earthworm Buddies                                        072 533 0304   earthwormbuddies@lantic.net
FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre        011 807 6993   www.freeme.org.za
Gauteng Conservancy & Stewardship Ass    016 590 2914   www.conservancies.org
Grow-a-tree                                                      071 421 2522   growatree@when.com
Jane Goodal Institute                                      079 777 1514   www.janegoodall.co.za
Johannesburg Zoo                                          011 646 2000   www.jhbzoo.org.za 
Kloofendal, Friends of                                   011 674 2980 www.kloofendalfriends.yolasite.com
Lepidopterist Society                                      082 327 2090   www.lepsoc.org.za
Medical Entomology                                       011 386 6486   www.nicd.ac.za
National Zoological Gardens (Pretoria)      012 328 3265   www.nzg.ac.za
Rand Water – Education                                083 381 9671   www.randwater.co.za
Rhino SA                                                           078 643 6430   www.rhinosa.co.za
SANParks Honourary Rangers                     083 793 3019
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre                           011 639 8400   www.sci-bono.co.za
Beekeepers Association        084 514 0948   www.beekeepers.co.za
Spider Club of South Africa                          082 5656 025   www.spiderclub.co.za

Kind regards,

Rita Groenewald
012 504 9906/7/8

Friday, 17 May 2013

Jedi's adventures

Highlights from our Anatolian ambassador, Jedi.

Getting cuddles and giving puppy kisses at St. Peters Prep
Jedi is such a lovely Anatolian  that he can double up as a domestic dog ambassador at rural schools, or strut his stuff as a hardcore breed of dog that protects livestock with their lives against predators. With many of our predators living on farmlands, there is often conflict with farmers. Anatolian guard dogs live with livestock, and keep predators away, allowing farmers to live harmoniously with cheetah, caracals, jackals etc. and reducing their financial losses substantially. With about 110 Anatolian living on farms in south Africa  this amazing breed of dog is making a big difference to our cheetahs living outside of protected areas.

Jedi meeting learners at Sci Bono
Loving the wind in his face

Jedi is a small example of the breed, but during our presentation about wild dogs, vultures and conflict with farmers, Jedi makes an appearance to show learners what this type of dog looks like.

Many of our rural schools enjoy meeting Jedi, because he is so calm, and often encourages the little ones to pet him, and overcome their fear of dogs. Working together with Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots programme about domestic animals, Jedi has recently visited the groups in Lenasia and Alexandria.

Jedi Chilling at a restaurant during a day out  last week

Jedi and our education team often have great fun on our excursions, and he is always keen for a cuddle.

An early morning for Jedi and I on the way to St. Peter's Prep

A happy puppy needs to see where we are going
Cynthia Kemp helping us out at Yebo gogga. Jedi is not sure about all the rhino dung at the  Rhino SA stand...

Please contact me if you would like me to visit your school :-)

Rita Groenewald
083 252 8848
012 504 9906

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Great progress from Sagira, and Yeats turns 3!!

Yeats' 3rd Birthday

It's hard to believe how fast time passes, but our young little star turned 3 years old on 29 April. He is doing very well at school visits, and has a lovely temperament.

It was a very quiet birthday party this year, but he did get a mince cake as a treat.

Sagira Visits Laerskool Fontainebleau

Our amazing little Egyptian vulture ambassador visited her first school since she found out she could fly. We have been doing some basic training, and I think I was more nervous of the visit than she was. Sagira was confident and amazed the children that the belonged to the nature club by sitting calming on my glove. She even hopped onto the desks in the media centre so that the learners were able to have a closer look. "Juffrou" Tersia was also able to experience the feeling of having a critically endangered vulture sit on her arm, and Sagira was a complete rockstar!

If you would like any further information about our education programme, or our ambassadors, please contact me on education@dewildt.co.za or 012 504 9906

Rita Groenewald

Thursday, 18 April 2013

News from the first term 2013

A successful first term for CHEETA 2013

The education team has been hard at work in the first term, and these are a few of the highlights for the year so far...
Just fewer than 3000 learners have been touched by the outreach education programme already. 

Yeats, our young ambassador cheetah celebrates his 3rd birthday towards the end of April. He is enjoying his visits, and shows great potential. You can stay in touch with his antics on twitter @yeatscheetah

Byron is not ready to retire just yet, and is extremely jealous of the fact that Yeats goes to schools too. Fortunately, he was able to forget about his woes for a while by visiting some ladies in Lover’s Lane, and of course, did all he could to save his species while up in the lane. Byron does have a number of friends on Facebook, and if you are not already one of his friends, hook up with him today.
Byron Cheetah (email address search cheetaeducation@gmail.com)

Sagira – our Egyptian vulture ambassador:

From this...         



Sagira is a hand-reared Egyptian Vulture with a lot of attitude. She is still in training, but
has visited an outreach group of learners this year, and was very well received. She is a
very rare bird, as these vultures are considered locally extinct as a breeding species in
South Africa. We are offering a critically endangered species presentation as a new option
 to schools, where we deal with wild dogs and vultures. Sagira and Jedi (our Anatolian
ambassador) come along to visit the learners. 

To bridge the gap in rural areas, Jedi doubles up as an Anatolian ambassador, and as a
 cuddly domestic dog. As part of our Cheetah Challenge visits, we are including a domestic
animal presentation, to encourage learners to form bonds with their pets, and give them
tips on how to make sure the animals are healthy and happy. Being a large dog, he is quite
intimidating at first, but eventually all the learners insist on giving him a good cuddle.

Our Cheetah Challenge programme encompassing social upliftment combined with a conservation message is going very well, and the project is mainly taking place at Boikanyo Primary school, as well as at Rearabilwe place of safety (both in Ga-rankuwa).

Overleigh St. Mary’s in England had a skype chat with our education team, and unfortunately they had video issues, so we could only have a voice call, but they have sponsored a visit to underprivileged school. We can use skype, Google talk or facebook video chat from one of our ambassador cheetah’s camps, and this is a fun way for schools from a far to support our education programme.

During the school holidays, we had a pilot holiday programme held off-site in Pretoria, together with Eco-Pilots. It was very well received, and we hope to be able to hold more of these holiday programmes in a city near your soon. Don’t forget, we also hold the holiday programme on site!

For further information about our outreach education programme, or to invite us to your school or facility, please contact Rita at education@dewildt.co.za 012 504 9906/7/8 or 083 252 8848.