In the News

GCBR sets down roots in Riversdale

GCBR sets down roots in Riversdale

11/5/18
A most exciting event for the GCBR in the last few months was the acquisition of a head office in Riversdale. Although the company is only three years young as a Biosphere Reserve, it has been some 15 years in the making, and for all that time it has never had a permanent place to call “home”, until now. As part of “growing up” and progressing as a company it has always been a dream to eventually have a head office for the GCBR – a base for the core staff, a venue for meetings and an information centre for stakeholders. Part of the international funding received by the GCBR’s primary donor, DOB Ecology, was set aside to find office space, and when it became clear that to purchase a property (instead of renting) would in fact save money in the long term the GCBR set out to find the perfect home. With a domain in excess of 3.1 million hectares, finding the right place was no easy task. However, the Board members and staff set about identifying the most suitable location, taking into consideration travelling time from other points of the domain, proximity to amenities and property prices. Read more below.
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Breaking Ground for a New Future for the Community of Vanwyksdorp

Breaking Ground for a New Future for the Community of Vanwyksdorp

11/5/18
The Vanwyksdorp Development Institute (VDI) has been a dream 14 years in the making – local Vanwyksdorp residents Pieter Coetzee and André Britz wanted to create an establishment – both physically and institutionally – that could provide a source of knowledge, learning and upliftment for the Vanwyksdorp and surrounding communities. The VDI as a non-profit company has been formally in existence since 2014, but it is only this year, through partnership with the GCBR, that the company has been able to begin the building of its campus. This is indeed an incredible milestone, not only in the life of the VDI, but certainly for the whole community of Vanwyksdorp. Read more below.
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GCBR features in UNESCO MAB video campaign

11/5/18
The GCBR recently had the opportunity to be showcased on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) international stage! We are so grateful to be a part of their #ProudToShare video campaign, in which Biosphere Reserves from all over the world were given the opportunity to submit videos in which they share their stories with the rest of the world. Our video was one of 30 that were selected to be shown at ECOSOC Science and Technological Forum (5 to 6 June), at the High Level Political Forum (16 to 18 July) in New York, and to be shown at the MAB Council in Sumatra, Indonesia in the near future. Check out the UNESCO MAB page to see the incredible global community of which we are privileged to be a part, and to watch our [GCBR #ProudToShare video](https://www.facebook.com/manandbiosphere/videos/1022197417905540/). Read about other media platforms in the report below.
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Structural adaptations to the GCBR Board

9/16/18
Discussions regarding the existing structure of the GCBR Board, highlighted the need to make certain adaptations to the Board. With the appointment of permanent staff, the Directors of the GCBR Board would be able to attend to their actual roll of taking decisions, giving guidance and providing oversight. Some of the previous Board members were heavily involved with projects and therefore opted to apply for contractual positions as project managers. Some, however, decided to remain as Directors. The GCBR now has project managers who really know the projects they deal with very well, and the Board has retained enough Directors to provide continuity. Additionally the decision was taken to do away with specific portfolios on the Board and to incorporate further organisational and business skills. The number of Directors has been reduced to seven as opposed to the previous 13. The current Directors are Willem Botha (Chairman), Charles Basson, Ken Coetzee, Kobus Nel, Yvette Potgieter and Hendrik Visser. Currently the only newcomer to the Board is Yvette Potgieter who lives in Mossel Bay and was previously the Events and Sponsorship Manager for SABC Corporate Marketing. The knowledge and experience Yvette brings to the company is vital. There is one further vacancy on the Board and anyone is welcome to nominate a candidate.  As part of the restructuring of the Board a decision was taken to appoint a new Advisory Committee (AdCom). Dick Carr (former Vice Chairperson to the Board) was appointed as Coordinator of the AdCom with Chris Horsley (Consultant to the Precious Metals Industry) and Alan Wheeler (Cape Nature) as members. The Terms of Reference of the committee are currently being finalised.
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Montagu Malva gedoop

Montagu Malva gedoop

12/10/17
'n Klein wildemalvatjie is in 2006 net buitekant Montagu deur Jan en AnneLise Vlok ontdek.  Die diep sanderige habitat waarin die plantjie voorkom het 'n paar maande vantevore gebrand en dit was hier werklik ‘n geval van ‘om op die regte tyd op die regte plek te wees’. Die plantjies is nie maklik om raak te sien nie - mens moet op jou knieë afsak om hulle ten volle te kan waardeer. Individuele plante staan omtrent 10 cm hoog wanneer hulle blom, en het ‘n knolletjie onder die grond vanwaar hulle herspruit na brand. Die blare bestaan uit drie lobbe (amper soos dié van ‘n tuinsuuring (Oxalis spesies)), is sowat 15 mm lank en 10 mm breed, maar rooierig en droog wanneer die plante in blom is. Die blomme is uitsonderlik – wit, met twee diep wyn-rooi kolle en fyn rooi-pers are in die blom se keel. Met hulle tuiskoms is Jan en AnneLise se vermoede bevestig dat die spesie ongewoon is – hulle kon geen gepubliseerde naam vir die spesie vind nie. Die eksemplaar is aan Dr Bettie Marais – spesialis op die Hoarea-groep binne die genus Pelargonium – gestuur. Sy het onmiddellik terug laat weet dat dit ‘n nuwe spesie is. Lees meer oor die benaming van die spesie in die artikel wat deur Engela Duvenage vir Die Burger geskryf is.
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GCBR secures Dutch funding

GCBR secures Dutch funding

6/17/17
Members of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) were pleased to be informed at the recent Annual General Meet that funding for projects involving the ecology and the community has been provided by DOB Ecology, a foundation that was set up by a Dutch entrepreneurial family that feels strongly about ecology and sound, sustainable stewardship. “DOB Ecology has approved funding of nearly R4 million for the continuation of the Jobs4Carbon (J4C) project at Vanwyksdorp,” said Wendy Crane, programme development coordinator for the GCBR.  This funding includes a wastewater wetlands project at De Rust, which was inaugurated on Friday last week. Initially the relationship started through an exchange of ideas via correspondence. “Documents were shared to facilitate getting to know each other and finding where our missions meet.” Download the full article written by Tisha Steyn and published in the 'Oudtshoorn Courant' below.
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Mini-symposium for Coastal and Island Biosphere Reserves

Mini-symposium for Coastal and Island Biosphere Reserves

5/13/17
Dr Steve Du Toit attended the mini-symposium for coastal and islands biosphere reserves in Jeju Island (Republic of Korea) from 28 September to 1 October in 2016. Read more about his visit in the report that can be downloaded below.  Jeju Island has a fascinating, long human history, and comparatively short geological history. It is a volcanic island, less than 2 million years old, with volcanic craters created about 5000 years ago. The geology is considered of global significance, and volcanic rock is used all over.  The island comprises of cities (Jeju city), natural habitat surrounding the main volcano, and tight, neat parcels of agricultural land, where amongst other crops, lettuce, cabbage, beetroot, onions are grown. Some interesting points to emerge during the presentations given during the symposium include: Logos and branding are integral to success of biosphere reserves. “Brand warmth” Recognition (quality of life, access, heritage and culture) are equally important as “nature and wildlife” Financial support from government (either municipal, provincial or national) is also crucial to the success of biosphere reserves.
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GCBR welcomes first Ambassador

GCBR welcomes first Ambassador

10/20/16
The GCBR  recently appointed our first ambassador when Mr Gerrit Van Rensburg accepted the appointment as the Agri  Ambassador.  When he was introduced to the members at the Members'meeting in Barrydale on 16 August 2016. Gerrit accepted the challenge to convey the message of the GCBR wherever the opportunity arises.  Farming has been in Gerrit's blood all his life. He served as minister of Agriculture in the Cabinet of the Western Cape Government from June 1999 to December 2001. In 2000 the portfolios of Property Management and Works were also added.   From 2009 to 2014 he served as minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Under his leadership the Department of Agriculture Western Cape was designated by SAIGA as the best department in South Africa for three consecutive years. Currently he resides in Hartenbos and is the chairperson of AgriMega NPC. Gerrit made the valid point that communities must understand that farmers need to make profits and must be allowed to do so.  It is the only way in which they will be able to make contributions towards the fulfilment of the objectives of the GCBR.
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Reservaat beleef jaar van hoogtepunte

Reservaat beleef jaar van hoogtepunte

4/27/16
Die Gouritz-biosfeerreservaat (GCBR – Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve) het die afgelope jaar groot vordering gemaak. Die vordering is tydens die GCBR se algemene jaarvergadering op Dinsdag 25 Augustus by die Oudtshoorn-navorsingsplaas uitgelig.
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