By Kim Shaw There comes a time when you know you need to push the boundaries, climb out of that comfortable rut, and do something that stretches you. My weekend volunteering at the Pilanesberg National Park with some of the Pecanwood Pre-Primary teachers was bucket list material! The teachers have been part of the Wilderness Leadership School’s volunteer work parties since 2014, travelling to Pilanesberg almost monthly to do their bit for the reserve. The year before, their incredible little learners raised a whopping R94 700 for the park’s anti-poaching unit, one of the littlies even handing over all his birthday money to look after the rhinos. Joan Coetzee, principal of the pre-primary, and several teachers at the school have been regulars ever since, joining WLS’s Uli Goebel on work projects that involve anything from clearing alien vegetation to collecting metal that’s resurfacing on this old farmland. I was privileged to join them last weekend (1-2 April 2017). We arrived late on Friday afternoon at the boma where they keep sick or injured animals in need of attention. I was quite relieved that my first experience didn’t involve sleeping in the wilderness with no fence between the Big 5 and me, and felt fortunate to be dipping my toes into this experience slowly rather than being tossed in at the deep end! For this city girl, it was a huge eye opener: from the stories around the fire and sharing the passion of the rangers to the depth of the darkness when the camp dies down at night. Watching the Milky Way overhead as it slips gently off into someone else’s world was a soothing escape from the madness of Jozi. And the distant roar of a lion had us all grinning from ear to ear. We spent a busy…

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