Plett Ocean Festival – Working from the ground up
The recent project of the Keep Plett Clean campaigners, “The sea starts here!”, which is stencilled onto the pavements at drainage points all over Plettenberg Bay, reminds us that our efforts towards marine conservation lie not only along the shoreline, estuaries and in the ocean, but in the hinterland where the pollutants of the ocean originate, much of it, PLASTIC.
With this in mind, Plett Tourism, in collaboration with Nature’s Valley Trust and Open Plan Pictures took the opportunity during the Plett Ocean Festival to take a fun and informative programme to children all over Plett during their school holidays.
Sponsored by The Market Square, and with food contributions from PicknPay and Woolworths, around 500 children in all of the communities enjoyed a screening of the animated movie Seal Team on each afternoon of the festival week, prefaced by a short educational presentation on preservation of our oceans and marine environment by Kellyn Whitehead, conservation volunteer manager and researcher at Nature’s Valley Trust, with a clear message that everyone can make a difference, and why it’s important to do so.
Addressing up to 100 children every afternoon, Kellyn’s big screen presentation engaged one and all in the wonders of the seas. Says Kellyn, “One of our missions at Nature’s Valley Trust is Conservation Education in all communities, and we welcomed the opportunity to reach the youth in a fun environment, about the impacts of plastics in our oceans, and how they can help alleviate the problem.”
On each of the five afternoons, the children were fed and watered by local food businesses and our thanks go out to People of Love in Kranshoek, Ubuntu Co-operative in Kurland, Die Plaas in New Horizons, Wittedrift Butchery in Wittedrift and Lyfstyle Tshisanyama in Kwanokuthula who cooked and delivered a hundred lunches daily for our future conservation warriors.
Councillors had the opportunity to speak directly to the children of their wards and offered words of wisdom and motivation to the audiences who ranged from babes on laps to boisterous, well-conducted primary school goers.
The entrance fee to the show, staged by the Open Plan Pictures team, was a plastic bag of plastic trash collected in the neighbourhood. Piles of bags were gathered on each day and collected by the Bitou Waste Department. The prize for working smart went to a small group who brought along bulging blue bags from a next-door waste collection point!
Open Plan Pictures is worthy of its own story – a film entertainment and services company promoting empowerment and employment of youth in Plett with an interest in film making. A focused team under the mentorship of Jess Robinson, who says, “Our core focus is to enhance customer experience through cinema and we are dedicated to service and collaboration that builds relationships with fellow stakeholders,” delivered just that, with total technical proficiency and professionalism. The care and attention to detail in each venue ensured seamless entertainment. Thank you Siyavuya Mantyi, Ovayo Bhebhe, Ross Hunter and Xoillie Khosana. May the highway to the Oscars be paved with gold.
Plett Tourism extends thanks to all stakeholders who helped this programme come together in true collaborative and generous spirit. We carry forward the maxim from the Plett Ocean Festival – Observe. Conserve. Preserve.