GOURITZ E-NEWS

2017/1 

It is almost impossible to convey in the short space of a newsletter what has been going on in the GCBR since the previous newsletter as things are moving really fast. 

In this issue you will find more about the excellent results compiled in the report by Myles Mander when he did the final audit of the first Jobs 4 Carbon project which came to an end in October 2016.  Congratulations to all the team members who worked so hard to produce the fine results.  We shall soon be reporting on phase 2 of Jobs 4 Carbon which is already underway. 

Environmental education is so important when one wants to influence the actions of future generations and what better way to do that than starting with kids.  Read the articles on education to see what is being done in schools and with school children.  And there are lots more to come.

It is a feather in our cap to have so many scientists in our midst who do a variety of research work and Dr Daan F Toerien is one of them.  Read his interesting paper: ‘The enduring and spatial nature of the enterprise richness of South African towns’ published recently in the South African Science Journal.

Humans are so good at developing new innovative things to make our lives easier but often without knowing what the impact on other living organisms will be over a period of time.  Plastic is such an invention.  We are now at a point where we know that on average plastic takes up to 500 years to break down.  What is even worse is that it is filling up our oceans to such extend  that plastic islands are forming and the latest research shows that sea salt contains plastic particles. 

Read more in this newsletter and please send us your feedback on all the articles.

Happy reading!

WF Botha

Chairman

GCBR forum & annual general MEETING IN OUDTSHOORN A huge Success

The recent GCBR Forum and Annual General Meeting which took place on the 16th May 2017 at the Proefplaas near Oudtshoorn was a memorable event. No less than 75 people attended the get-together. Willem Botha (GCBR Chairman) presented the Chairman's report on what has been achieved, largely by a group of volunteers, during the past year. 

We welcome the following newly elected directors to the GCBR Board: Ms Najma Adams - Director Agriculture & Mining; Mr Rhett Hiseman - Chairperson of Langeberg Sector; and Mr Jan Vlok - Chairperson of Towerkop Sector. 

Four fascinating talks were presented following the formal proceedings of the AGM:

  • Flood and Fire in the Holocene – a Sedimentary Record of climate cycles - Chris Lee (Blue Hill Nature Reserve)
  • The Karoo Predator Project - understanding socio-ecological mechanisms behind farmer-predator conflict in the Karoo – Marine Drouilly (University of Cape Town)
  • Ecology of baboons in conflict with sheep farmers in the Karoo - Marion Tafani (University of Cape Town)
  • GCBR 2017-2018 : The road ahead - Steve du Toit (DOB Project Manager).

News from our projects

Jobs for Carbon

Because our children are the footprint of our legacy

Because our children are the footprint of our legacy

10/15/17
The intention of our visit to the Rooiberg area from 26-28 September 2017 was to educate our students on the basics of the knowledge on the Klein Karoo. They must experience and feel what the climate, environment and people are like. Staying at the RUST farm was a privilege … more of a spoil, but it’s hard to let the students and clients understand this if their only point of reference is luxury. We unfortunately owe this to ourselves and our children and our future, to be part of the educational process where we understood more about biodiversity; i.e. our ecology, community and the global village. Being said that, we must thank Andre Britz and Steve du Toit of the GCBR for being available to share their wisdom with us during the 3 days. A huge thank you to the RUST family for offering their home as a bases.
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Environmental Education

Herbertsdale Green Roses blossoming in Stilbaai

Herbertsdale Green Roses blossoming in Stilbaai

11/10/17
 Herbertsdale Primary have recently established an environmental or “Green Club” at their school.  This is the first outing as “The Green Roses”. The aim of this outing was to expose the learners to a different environment, to show new perspectives, to generate an interest in the outdoor world, to spark curiosity in the natural world and of course to explore and transfer information. The visit to Stilbaai started at the Tuin op die Brak, where we met with Arrie Combrinck our educational field guide for the day.  Arrie  took us through the Botanical Garden where there is a specific focus on medicinal plants and succulents.  Once we had seen the Botanical Garden we headed for the Blombos Museum.  Arrie spoke about the Blombos Cave and the archaeological findings, the origins of man and all the artifacts that show the evolutionary man’s progress in terms of tool making and other survival skills. Read more about the other site visits in the report below compiled by Monica Vaccaro.
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Because our children are the footprint of our legacy

Because our children are the footprint of our legacy

10/15/17
The intention of our visit to the Rooiberg area from 26-28 September 2017 was to educate our students on the basics of the knowledge on the Klein Karoo. They must experience and feel what the climate, environment and people are like. Staying at the RUST farm was a privilege … more of a spoil, but it’s hard to let the students and clients understand this if their only point of reference is luxury. We unfortunately owe this to ourselves and our children and our future, to be part of the educational process where we understood more about biodiversity; i.e. our ecology, community and the global village. Being said that, we must thank Andre Britz and Steve du Toit of the GCBR for being available to share their wisdom with us during the three days out there. A huge thank you to the RUST family for offering their home as a bases.
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Green Roses growing into leaders

Green Roses growing into leaders

10/15/17
 On Friday 8th of September we visited the Green Roses with the intention of handing over their leadership badges and planting trees for Arbor week. There was a special assembly held whereby the whole school gathered with the staff.  There was a brief talk about the new leadership roles.  Learners in grade 4 and 5 were inspired to look up to these roles and positions and know that they too will get to be future leaders.  The juniors were encouraged to be respectful and to cooperate with their leaders.    Each team came up and were handed the badges which they proudly pinned on their uniform. There were two educators that offered their mentorship to the teams.  We are very happy that the educators are keen to drive and assist the learners.  We would like to thank Ms Veronika Muller and Ms Lizelle Labuschagne for stepping into mentorship roles for the teams. Download the full report below.
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entrepreneurial development

GCBR features in study on enterprise richness of South African towns

GCBR features in study on enterprise richness of South African towns

5/14/17
A study on the number of enterprise types shows a significant relationship with the total number of enterprises in (1) towns in different regions of SA and (2) towns in the same region, but seven decades apart. Entrepreneurial space in towns develops or disappears in a regular way as towns grow or regress, which is further proof of orderliness in the enterprise dynamics of SA towns. In considering the lack of employment and poverty in South Africa, the National Development Plan suggests that town and rural areas are important cogs in efforts to overcome these problems. Development plans that are out of sync with the observed regularities are perhaps bound to fail.
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The PALAEOLANDSCAPE near mossel bay some 60 000 years ago

 A visualization of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain off Mossel Bay some 60 000 years ago during a moderate cold phase (glacial). In the distant background is the ridgeline of the current coastline some 30 km away, and the snow-capped Outeniqua Mountains. The vast and monotonous plain is drained by a languid, meandering Gouritz River which has formed extensive wetlands behind the barrier of coastal dunes. The plain is underlain by fertile soils which support a dense and productive grassland which is home to large herds of grazing mammals. These include several extinct forms such as longhorn buffalo, eland, giant Cape zebra, giant hartebeest and bluebuck, as well as the springbok, waterbuck, zebra and other plains game still found roaming the African tropical grasslands today. 

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marine environment

Marine Puppet Show A Must!

Marine Puppet Show A Must!

11/12/17
Paul and Marina Eilers are doing the rounds at Mossel Bay primary schools with a Marine/Shark awareness puppet show. Pictures show the Gr4-7 learners at St Luke’s Brandwag, with the principal Mr Mann in attendance and representatives of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR), Wendy Crane and Luami Zondagh. The Garden Route Casino Trust funded the initial development of the script (Afrikaans and English versions, songs and a worksheet, some of the puppets and equipment). The English version has been well received at numerous pre-schools in Mossel Bay (and is ongoing) and executed by passionate shark conservationist Esther Overbeeke of the Keep Fin Alive campaign.  The current run is co-sponsored by the Trust and the Mossel Bay Municipality. The GCBR has been the facilitator of all the above mentioned legs of the shark/marine awareness programmes.  Paul and Marina are known for the excellence of their work. To attend one of their shows should be on anyone’s bucket list! Again, a very successful partnership between the Trust, the Mossel Bay Municipality, the GCBR and service providers Marina, Paul and Esther! More photos below...
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upcoming events

vetplantfees 2017

A festival celebrating the Succulent Plants that grow in the Klein Karoo.

23-25 September 2017

09:00-17:00

Calitzdorp Railway Station

Admission: Free

For more information please contact: Buck Hemenway (buckhem41@gmail.com; 076 298 7337) 

tour de gouritz biosphere mtb

 TOUR DE GOURITZ BIOSPHERE MTB

3 Day Tour from 10-12 November 2017

From Great Brak River, Vanwyksdorp, Oudtshoorn to Herold.

Entries: www.trisport.co.za

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