GOURITZ E-NEWS

2016/2 

Looking at ‘The News from our Projects’ as displayed on the Gouritz.com website gives one an indication of the wide variety of projects currently under way.  One must really spend some time on the website to realize just how many people are involved in an organisation such as the GCBR.  And we always need more!  The project called ‘Walking under the Rocks?’ is a perfect example of how the community can become involved as citizen scientists to gather valuable information.  We would love to get feedback from those who took part in any of the outings which took place at Stilbaai, Tergniet or Mossel Bay.

During the sessions of the strategy task team it became evident that non profit companies have to find sustainable income streams without relying only on grants from government to pay expenses related to core administrative costs.   This is a worldwide phenomenon.  Read about #Spekkies as a first initiative to start addressing some of the needs. We’ll be able to share more exciting news with you on various other financial models currently under negotiation and discussion.  In the meantime please consider to bequeath an amount in your will to the GCBR and prompt your friends and family to do the same.

There is also news about the upcoming GCBR Forum meeting, our environmental education project in Vanwyksdorp in partnership with the Landmark Foundation, results of the study into business development in the biosphere, our Wonderbag project and research related to our paleolandscape.  

Please provide us with feedback and news to share. You can forward the information to Mary at admin@gouritz.com.

Happy reading!

WF Botha

Chairman

GCBR forum & annual general MEETING TO TAKE PLACE IN oudtshoorn - 16 may 2017

When: 16 May 2017

Venue: Oudtshoorn, Experimental Farm (Proefplaas)

Time: 09:30 for 10:00.

Contact: A. Vlok (avlok@capenature.co.za)  for more information.

 On the agenda we have a fascinating spread of talks:

  • 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)          

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News from our projects

Jobs for Carbon

Thumbs-up for Jobs for Carbon!

Thumbs-up for Jobs for Carbon!

1/23/17
 An independent evaluation of the Jobs for Carbon project has been completed. The report hails the project and provides good advice on the way forward. According to the reviewers, the project objectives were broadly achieved, and certain targets were substantially exceeded. "The project target of restoring 300ha of spekboomveld was exceeded. Some 812ha was initiated into a process of restoration through the project, either through replanting with spekboom or through the exclusion of grazing animals (or both). The plantings show above average survival in comparison to other localities." "The impact of this project on human capital were outstanding. There were 60 success stories – i.e. 60 people changing from what many critics called ‘unemployable’ to becoming motivated capable labourers skilled in veld restoration and good work practice, and who put food on the table and who paid for schooling." Download the full report below.
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Environmental Education

Butterflies camping in Vanwyksdorp

Butterflies camping in Vanwyksdorp

4/5/17
This year our annual planning camp took place at the school and the church hall. The Grade 6 learners were very excited about having the opportunity to join the green club.  They were taken through an orientation program so that they may understand the structure of the club. ART WORKSHOP – PAPIER-MÂCHÉ – RECYCLING AND REUSING – SKILLS TRAINING: We began with a papier-mâché workshop.  Art is an important part of developing confidence and a strong self-esteem. The learners were very receptive and enjoyed it very much.  The success of this activity is very high as the product is extremely good. Learners feel relaxed and a sense of achievement. It is also very inexpensive. Educators were also trained in other various applications.  HIKE TO SAN PAINTING SITE– CULTURAL HISTORY – GEOGRAPHY -  KNOWLEDGE: Early Saturday morning after breakfast we embarked on a hike that started from the church hall to a farm located around 7km down to the river.  Piet Gelderblom kindly allowed the children to visit a San painting site on his farm.  It is quite a unique site as the images are of fingerprints and other entoptic phenomena (abstract images).  The experience was quite remarkable as the children had never seen san paintings and nor expected them to be on the walls of the cave they leaned against on arrival.   As I began to explain how one can never tell what lies in these caves and that the paintings could be right behind them on the walls they were leaning on, there was a moment of absolute disbelief and suddenly they shot up and started looking intensely at the rock face.  
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Re-introducing the Green Butterflies

Re-introducing the Green Butterflies

4/5/17
 The Green Butterflies is a Green Club initiated in 2015 by Landmark Foundation. The Collaboration with Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve has made this project a resounding success. We have been sharing all their wonderful achievements on fb throughout the two years. These learners are dedicated and committed to changing the world. They started the year by bagging their pomegranates, cleaning up their bathrooms and sorting out their waste. This is so proactive and inspiring. Thanks to everyone involved in this operation including the J4C team! In the next weeks we will be having a two day camp to choose the leadership for 2017. We will keep you updated.  ONE BITE AT A TIME!!
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Success is in the hand of the people

Success is in the hand of the people

4/4/17
KOS IN DIE KAROO is a collaborative with the GCBR and was launched in in Vanwyksdorp in September 2016 at a gathering of community members interested in food gardens.  In our follow up visit in February 2017, we visited some of the sites where food gardens had been initiated.  It must be said that this community driven project relies on the will of the people.  If the community is not ready for a self-sustained life then it will not grow.  It needs the full commitment of the gardeners.   This project does not rely on a funder to make it happen. As project managers we can only give advice, assist with knowledge and bring seeds, trees etc. to the party.  The success is in the hand of the people. We visited the home of oom Japaulus Cloete. He seems to be very proactive about food. His garden is lush and has a large variety of vegetables as well as fruit trees and flowering plants.  Read the full report attached 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

How our clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply

How our clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply

5/14/17
 Micro-plastic pollution is devastating our oceans. In an article published in The Guardian Newspaper on the 20th June 2016 it is reported that new studies indicate that the fibres in our clothes could be poisoning our waterways and food chain on a massive scale. Microfibres – tiny threads shed from fabric – have been found in abundance on shorelines where waste water is released. Recent research indicates that the biggest culprit may be the shirt off your back. In an alarming study, researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara found that, on average, synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibres each wash. It also found that older jackets shed almost twice as many fibres as new jackets. Download full article below.
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