The JNF Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre opened in Mamelodi on 14 September 2004. It is the first such project of its kind in South Africa, to create an environmentally friendly building that demonstrates natural thermal comfort, natural lighting and natural ventilation methods in everyday use.
The mission is to create a culture of community conservation in Mamelodi and Southern Tshwane with the aim of developing awareness amongst the youth to inspire and motivate them to preserve and utilise the wealth of our natural heritage.
The JNF Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre creates a venue for the learners and educators of Mamelodi Schools, the 186 schools in the Southern Tshwane Educational District and the surrounding community to learn about the environment. It provides key applications and resources for educators integrating the environment into the Outcomes Based Curriculum (OBE) currently being incorporated into the Education System.
Education is a fundamental key to addressing historical imbalances in South Africa and the answer to many of the social and economic problems facing the country. Environmental education is becoming a primary subject in schools throughout the country as the environment has been named a "phase organiser" in the Outcomes Based Education system. While this is an extremely exciting development many educators do not have the skills or resources to make this happen. This centre will support and train educators as well as host environmental outings for learners.
In honour of Tu ‘Bishvat this year, the JNF organized an educational trip to the JNF Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre in Mamelodi. This trip was for university students and young adults who assisted in propagating new shade trees in the community nursery. These trees are going to be handed out to the Mamelodi community during Arbor month in September. Trees were also planted on their grounds as a symbolic reminder that it is our duty to care for our environment. It was a fantastic educational event which included an insightful tour of the incredible centre.