The GCBR worked tirelessly for almost the entire year on the submission of proposals for the funding of eight projects to be implemented over a 3 – 4 year period. The funding was approved by DOB Ecology on 29 November 2017 and implementation will commence from early 2018.
In addition to the crucial volunteer effort that has brought us thus far, the GCBR is now in a position to appoint a small core team on a full time basis as well as project-related staff and service providers. These people will support and implement an expanding portfolio of catalytic field projects, spanning ecosystem restoration of river catchments, wetlands, ecological corridors, and environmental education - to name but a few. The Board, as presented at the November Forum meeting, will continue to provide oversight, strategic guidance and connections to relevant networks. We also plan to reinvigorate and formalise the advisory committee, which will comprise of volunteers who bring experience, expertise, stakeholder interests and advice on proposals/issues/matters of concern.
The highly successful open Forum/Members format will remain intact.
The three core positions being recruited now are:
Chief Executive: reporting to the board, responsible for overall leadership, coordination and integration of project efforts/results, public and peer-group representation, operational accountability.
Programme Development Specialist: reporting to Chief Executive, responsible for project development, grant prospecting, innovation and acquisition and quality of reporting.
Learning and Evaluation Specialist: reporting to the Chief Executive, holds responsibility for drawing and communicating lessons from GCBR’s projects which have learning investments linked to an evaluation system.
Detailed information about the GCBR, about the three positions and about the process for submitting applications can be found at www.gouritz.com and shall be available from 18 December 2017. The closing date for submission of applications is Friday 19th Jan 2018.
Enjoy the reading of the last newsletter for 2017 and may you all have a pleasant and blessed festive season and a deserved break. Drive carefully and remember: Save Water!
#spekkies has had a very successful few months, both in terms of sales and exposure for the product and the project.
Andre Britz and Luami Zondagh were interviewed on the Kyknet television show “Grootplaas” regarding the Jobs for Carbon and #spekkies projects. To watch the interviews follow the link at the bottom of the home page. Both Andre and Luami were also interviewed by Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) ([Luami](https://agriorbit.com/radio-bewaringsprojek-vir-spekbome/); [Andre](https://agriorbit.com/radio-rehabilitasie-projek-vir-spekbome/)).
The successful knowledge-sharing and public promotional event “For the Love of Spekboom” was held at the Green Shed in Wilderness in October. The event received much positive feedback, and the format is planned to be duplicated in other regions across the GCBR in the future. The event was organized due to popular demand for a demonstration about the value and uses of spekboom. The GCBR took the opportunity to not only share knowledge regarding spekboom, but also to inform the attendees about the GCBR and its various projects (with a focus on the Jobs for Carbon restoration program), as well as creating awareness about the extremely harmful effects of plastics in the natural environment, and demonstrating practical ideas to change harmful plastic-promoting habits.
Download the full report below. (Added 12/6/17
The Jobs for Carbon teams are making great progress for the 2017-2018 project year, which will see the planting up of 50 hectares of degraded land with spekboom.
With only three landowners left on whose land they need to plant, they have thus far finished planting in the whole Bosrivier valley – which is a total of 19.25 hectares planted thus far. The valley will be a great and easily accessible example of the project, as all the sites are easy to see from the road, and the valley is close to Vanwyksdorp.
The New Year will see the close of the projects, with the last remaining properties – which are situated close to the Bosrivier Valley - being planted up in time for the project close at the end of February. (Added 12/6/17
Andre Britz (GCBR) visited Vanwyksdorp Primary School during May to offer support to the Green Club especially the Seedling Project. Rika Louw, a member of the local food garden movement called KOS IN DIE KAROO has offered support and mentorship to the seedling project. She will visit the school on Thursdays when the club meets and assist them in their management of the project.
The learners prepared a 90%-10% mixture of peat and potting soil and filled their trays. The seeds were then laid and watered. This project has the potential of becoming a tourist attraction and a viable business for the green club. We look forward to good results.
After some trial and error practices the seedlings are now in full swing. The learners are excited, they want more seeds to plant, especially because they know the community is waiting to buy their seedlings to plant in their gardens. It is a closed loop, on the road to a sustainable living. Read the full report below.
The Green Club Schools Project is sponsored by DOB and the Landmark Foundation. (Added 5/20/18
On Friday, the 13th April 2018, we visited the Green Butterflies in Vanwyksdorp to offer support to the club. Their main projects are:
BOTANICAL GARDEN PROJECT. The work on the botanical garden has begun, with the learners clearing out all the deadwood from the garden and creating a pathway. Material to use to label the plants is being investigated. The material must be both re-cycled and cost effective, as well as maintain a visual effect and be favourable to the environment. The name tags will be written by the learners themselves.
WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM. This project has become a program that the whole school is running. It is integrating itself into the “new” ethos of the school. The learners together with Jobs for Carbon team have had a few massive clean-ups under the mentorship of Andre Britz from the GCBR.
SEEDLING PROJECT. The seedlings project was born from the idea of community food gardens. For the learners of a school it is much easier to look after seeds than a patch. It can have a very good market in a small rural town. The whole school can be involved in the growth of their own town and their own school – in the form of a seedling project. Read the full report below.
The Green Club Schools Project is sponsored by DOB and the Landmark Foundation. (Added 5/20/18
The Green Roses met on the 12th April 2018 following the Annual planning camp. The objectives for this meeting were the following: 1. To assess resources needed for each team; 2. To train committee members to run a meeting and fulfil their roles as committee members; 3. To run a Seed Planting workshop for possible seedling project, using peat, egg boxes and seeds; 4. To re-assess the waste management project and its problems; 5. To recap on everyone’s roles and responsibilities; 6. To host visiting guests at their meeting; 7. To plot environmental dates on a year planner; and 8. To run a clay workshop making pinch pots with beads.
It was clear to see that the seniors, after a term in office, were much more comfortable in their positions. We hope they see opportunities and will lead their school with determination and through actions.
Matters highlighted in the meeting include: 1. Bathroom monitors clean bathrooms every Friday; 2. Waste management do clean-ups on Fridays; 3. Library is cleaned-up occasionally; and 4. All the teams requested cleaning materials and other/needs. Read the full report below. (Added 5/20/18
The Water Wise Ways (WWW) project is certainly a great example of how projects can grow gradually from small volunteer-driven actions to a fully-fledged core company project.
The WWW project as it is today, found its beginnings in two different directions within the GCBR – the one was the community empowerment and support project started and run by Charles Basson and Susan Botha, in which faulty toilet cisterns were replaced and leaking taps fixed as a means to reduce water wastage and increase awareness around saving water.
The other contributing project started simply as a dream that the then De Rust resident, Dieks Theron, had about cleaning the effluent at the local municipal waste water treatment plant through phytoremediation (using specific plants to absorb phosphates and nitrates from the waste water).
Charles and Susan’s community projects continued to flourish under the banner and support of the GCBR, and Dieks’ project came to life last year at the De Rust Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant – the combination of which now form the WWW project. Download the full report below. (Added 9/26/18
The constructed wetland project in De Rust has seen successes and challenges over the course of 2017, however as the year draws to a close the project is well on its way to realizing its ultimate goal of returning the unusable wastewater - at the De Rust Sewage Works - as safe, clean water back into the natural catchment systems.
Earlier stages of the project saw the construction of five long “floats” that were installed in the fourth (second-last) treatment dam of the De Rust sewage works. The floats are constructed from shade-cloth and old cool drink bottles, which create a support structure on which the “watter-scrubbing” Phragmites australis (fluitjiesriet) and Typha capensis (bulrush) plants can be mounted. The support structure is made by creating a “pillow” from the shadecloth, using old, dry Phragmites australis or Typha capensis biomass. Empty and sealed cool drink bottles are stitched into the sides of the “pillow” for stabilization and floatation. Phragmites australis or Typha capensis are then attached through the floats, with the roots hanging down below the float into the water, and the “above ground” biomass of the plant protruding from the top of the float, above the water. Read more in the attached report. (Added 12/6/17
Results of study focussed on medium- to large-sized terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity in Anysberg Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site and neighboring farmland using camera traps show that even if protected areas such as Anysberg Nature Reserve are extremely important for nature conservation, the inclusion of private lands to the conservation process is crucial to conserve the full range of species found in drylands such as the Karoo. Initiatives such as the CapeNature's biodiversity stewardship programme have a great role to play in conservation, by making private landowners the custodians of biodiversity, along with protected areas.
This project was funded in part by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust. CapeNature is also thanked for allowing access to work in Anysberg Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site. Download the article below. (Added 6/9/18
Sustainable agriculture uses best practice to produce high quality products in a way that is environmentally sustainable and also has socio-economic benefits for communities. The development of guidelines to inform best practice therefore contributes to the national goal of using our natural resources sustainably in order to ensure that these resources can also benefit future generations.
The honeybush industry generates locally important income for processors, farmers and harvesters. Some 85% of the annual crop comes from wild harvested honeybush plants and the remainder from cultivated crops. With financial support from the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, best practice guidelines for the sustainable harvesting of wild honeybush have been developed by Gillian MacGregor through thorough field work and inputs from a wide range of stakeholders. These guidelines have now been incorporated into a handy 'field guide' in English or a 'veldgids' in Afrikaans, which can be downloaded below. (Added 4/17/18
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. (Added 9/16/18
Game farmers and ranchers who get permits from CapeNature to introduce extralimital (alien to the area) wildlife species must take note of the fact that they undertake (in writing) to do habitat monitoring after the introduction of the desired animals. This monitoring is outlined in the risk assessment report that the farmer has to get an expert to do in order to get approval for the introduction of extralimital wildlife.
Conservation Management Services (CMS) (Ken Coetzee, Wallie Stroebel and Bruce Taplin) have done many such risk assessment plans for game ranchers in the GCBR and beyond but they are concerned that none of the game ranchers appear to be doing the required monitoring. To date CapeNature have been lenient about this but CMS fears that renewals of Adequate Enclosure Certificates, applications for game transport permits and in fact all kinds of permits will in future only be issued if the landowner (those who have permitted extralimital animals) has been doing the required habitat monitoring and can show the results.
We do not recommend that CapeNature be tested on this, the consequences could be damaging to the industry in general, the GCBR in particular, and to everyone involved. The relevant game farmers and ranchers are urged to consult their plans, see what monitoring was approved for their particular operation and then get it done. The techniques are really simple and will not take up much time to implement and help is but a telephone call away. (Added 12/6/17
Stormy seas the 10th of October 2017 caused a marine container to spill vast numbers of plastic nurdles in Durban. Nurdles are tiny plastic particles used in the manufacture of products. The shipping company has accepted responsibility for the spill along the KwaZulu Natal coast. However, winds and coastal currents carried the pellets closer and closer. The nurdles have been reported from Nature’s Valley, soon the Garden Route and Stilbaai followed, with latest reports from Hermanus. Just as other plastics, these plastic pellets are incredibly harmful to all marine life and has to be removed from beaches as a matter of urgency,
Tersia Marais of S.M.A.R.T in Mossel Bay has coordinated volunteers to assist with collection and arranged drop-off points (as per poster) for the collected nurdles. South African Association of Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) suggests sieves or shadenet to collect the nurdles (more information on the poster).
Tersia urges all beach users to assist with the clean up campaign.
“Ons doen 'n beroep op al ons vriende wat in die Suid-Kaap woon of kom vakansie hou - as jy tyd het, neem 'n kombuissif of kinder visnet en 'n emmer en gaan na die strand naaste aan jou. Op die hoogste hoogwatermerk sal jy tussen all die ander dinge wat die see uitspoeg klein, vaal balletjies wat amper soos BB koeeltjies lyk, sien lê. Die goed word "nurdles" genoem. Hulle is lewensgevaarlik vir die meeste mariene diere. Dit het in die see beland agv 'n storm gedurende Oktober in Durban se hawe en spoel nou ook aan ons Suid-Kaapse strande uit. Strande in die groter Mosselbaai area wat erg deurloop is Gouritz, Boggomsbaai, Vleesbaai en Grootbrakrivier. Maak 'n verskil en help om die nurdles op te tel. Daar is verskeie versamelpunte in Mosselbaai waarvan die Shark Lab by die Punt, die maklikste bereikbaar is. Vergeet van die TV, Facebook, Twitter, ens. vir n paar uur; geniet die vars seelug en red 'n seeskilpad deur pro-aktief te wees.”
Inligting saamgestel deur Tersia Marais van S.M.A.R.T (Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team). Laai die dokumente hiernaas af. (Added 12/11/17
Fin and his friends have been delighting kids in the Mossel Bay area this year with the 'Keep Fin Alive' puppet show, sponsored by Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve and Garden Route Casino Community Trust and supported by Oceans Research. Sharks play a vital role to keep our oceans healthy, but are a difficult animal to conserve as they’re not as charismatic as other animals. The puppet show aims to teach youngsters that sharks are not the monsters the media portray them to be, and that they’re a very important part of the ocean ecosystem. Teachers from the various preschools describe it as “wonderfully entertaining and informative puppet show", “kids love Fin and his friends and the cool facts they learn”, “the puppeteers did a FINtastic job entertaining the kids”, “It was great to see that a couple of the reluctant kids, who were scared of sharks before the show, warm up to the characters”.
South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, is also a '#Fin Hugger'.
Learn more about our 2017 events in the attached document. (Added 12/6/17
The Dreamcatcher Foundation together with the community of Melkhoutfontein launched the Centre for Arts for Humanity project on Sunday March 4th in the restored historic St. Augustine’s church situated on the newly developed ‘La Bloemen’ indigenous botanical garden developed on a former waste dumpsite.
Art by the children of Melkhoutfontein will be open to the general public for viewing over the forthcoming Easter period (21st of March), September (24th) and December (16th) Holiday periods. Over the past year, Dreamcatcher’s ‘Going Places Kids’, have created amazing art work from the waste removed from the site. Their environment and rich, significant history were their inspiration. Working under the auspices of their art teacher, Diane Rossouw, the children have evolved into artists in their own right converting the waste and their inspirational creations into various art forms and crafts.
The corner stone of a monument, a mosaic named ‘Rising from the Ashes’ and created from waste from this former dumpsite, was laid in the garden after the official launch. The project name Wasteland-Graced Land is there for evident and a testament of humanity, restoring damaged environment and living in harmony in it. Many botanical and other species are returning to the area.
The Wasteland – Graced Land Project has recently been recognized globally as a best practice sustainable model for poverty relief and environmental management projects.
According to the Dreamcatcher Foundation’s founder, Anthea Rossouw, the 'Wasteland – Graced Land' model is geared to provide solutions to local problems using local resources as far as possible to created sustainable work. This project blends tourism and environmental sustainability with helpfulness by introducing a new, meaningful tourist visitor destination with the chance for visitors to engage and get involved with the locals to innovate and create together locally. (Added 3/13/18
A handful of GCBR staff had the exceptional honour of attending the first ever DOB Partnership Forum in Vanwyksdorp in June this year. The Forum was essentially an opportunity for all the DOB Ecology partners (supported companies/ organisations) from all around the world to come together to meet and learn from each other’s projects and experiences.
The Forum included many different elements, from presentations of successful and inspirational projects and life-experiences, to interactive strategic problem solving sessions. (Added 10/1/18
Upcoming Events for 2018
GCBR FORUM get-togethers 2018:
Please book the following dates for information-packed meetings:
20 February 2018
15 May 2018
14 August 2018
20 November 2018
Trans Gouritz 5 day MTB Tour
A 5-Day MTB Tour from 23-27 May 2018.
Cycle over 3 mountains in 5 days, the Langeberg, the Rooiberg and the Outeniqua Mountains and criss-cross the Gouritz River and its tributaries over 5 days. This is an exciting Non Technical MTB and CycloCross Bike Stage Event.