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 12/7/17
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 12/7/17
The annual Green Club planning camp this year was held at Herbertsdale Primary. The aim of this annual camp is to elect the club’s committee as well as the project managers. The camp also allows for the induction of the new grade 6’s who were taken though an orientation program to learn the ethos of the green club and begin a leadership development program.
Towerland Nature Reserve hike - The hike starts with the bluegums and a few other aliens as we pass the old farm house, however as we ascended up the mountain it changes into mountain fynbos. The CODES OF NATURE refers to a program aimed at increasing the learners ecological intelligence and opening the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the natural environment, as it is sometimes feared.
The learners struggled a little with getting “tuned” into the environment. They were quite involved with their own conversations and it took about 10 minutes for them to realize they were in front of a huge valley overlooking Jakkalsvlei. We did some calming down and breathing exercises and had to practice silence for more than 10 minutes for the group to actually connect to their space. Through the walk certain observations and remarks were made, the learners were asked to listen carefully as they would have to draw up a list on the Codes of Nature in their respective groups after the hike. This exercise proved to be an incredibly good one, considering they do not listen much but they were able to pick up on some of the values. Read more about this camp in the report below. (Added 3/5/18
The annual Green Club planning camp for the Green Butterflies began with a welcoming and de-briefing session. At this session the camp rules are set. This includes things like greeting other guests, saying thank you, shouting, wastage, recycling etc. and values such as leaving a place better than you found it and leave nothing behind. The aim of this annual camp is to elect the club’s committee as well as the project managers. The camp also allows for the induction of the new grade 6’s who were taken though an orientation program to learn the ethos of the green club and begin a leadership development program.
The Codes of Nature hike into the gorge focuses on increasing the learners' ecological intelligence and opening the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the natural environment, as it is sometimes feared. Through the walk certain observations and remarks were made, the learners were asked to listen carefully as they would have to draw up a list on the codes of nature in their respective groups after the hike. This exercise proved to be an incredibly good one as they had picked up on very subtle observations.
The codes of nature will be a fixed feature on this annual camp and will form part of the leadership program and grade 6 induction. This walk will be run by the grade 7’s next year as they will need to pass on the codes to the new incumbants. Read the full report. (Added 2/26/18
Vanwyksdorp Primary kicked off with their Green Butterflies planning meeting for 2018 at the Rooiberg Lodge on the 15th January 2018. The Green Club Projects is a Landmark Foundation Environmental Education Program initiative and it is carried out in full partnership and collaboration with the GCBR.
The aim of this strategic planning meeting was to incorporate the structure of the Green Club into the school system and to open the learning opportunities to all the grade teachers.
The Green Clubs have, through its leadership program, created various leadership clusters with a manager/leader and teacher for guidance, these are: Librarians, Waste Management, Media and Noticeboards, Bathroom monitors, Greeters, and the Green Club Committee.
Green Club projects include: the botanical garden, beautification of the school grounds, development of a community seedling supplier, the indigenous nursery and the school garden maintenance projects. Download the full report below. (Added 1/25/18
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 12/7/17
Thanks to the Garden Route Casino Conservation Trust (GRCCT), the GCBR is engaging with approximately 120 households in KwaNonqaba and 20 in D’Almeida, measuring water usage, auditing leaking/broken pipes and taps, and fixing those.
Audits were done by five workers to ascertain where household water is leaking, which leads to water waste and high water bills. The team then moved in to fix the water leaks, which were mainly caused by leaking outside taps and toilet cistern failures. The team was capacitated to understand the value of water as a scarce resource, and whilst auditing and fixing, they do informal awareness raising in the identified households. Workshops to augment the water-scarce-message will be held in December 2017, and each household will receive a Wonderbag as water saving mitigation tool.
For more information and photos refer to the attached document. (Added 12/7/17
Technical documents which present existing knowledge used to develop recommendations towards best practice in the wild honeybush industry have been compiled by Gillian MacGregor (University of Rhodes) with financial support by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.
Honeybush refers to the various plant species belonging to the genus Cyclopia, and covers those species which are commercially used to produce tea. The principle thinking behind the guidelines is the fact that the rate of harvest should not exceed the rate of regeneration.
As a first attempt at developing a formal set of guidelines for the wild harvesting of honeybush, the focus has been on Cyclopia intermedia (bergtee), as this is by far the major resource of the honeybush tea industry.
Download the series of documents covering (1) an overview of the honeybush industry, (2) the harvesting guidelines for Cyclopia intermedia (bergtee), (3) the implications of fynbos ecology for Cyclopia species, (4) applicable legislative and policy framework, and (5) a review of wild plant harvesting guideline type documents and relevant literature, below. (Added 12/7/17
Two young French researchers, Marine Drouilly and Dr Marion Tafani, are doing research in the Karoo to find out what influence predators such as jackal, caracal, baboon, and to a lesser extent leopard, have on small stock such as sheep and goats. They addressed a Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) meeting at the Oudtshoorn Research Institute.
Drouilly, who is doing research for a doctorate, and Dr Tafani, who is doing post-doctorate research, explained some of the results of their ongoing research on the Karoo Predator Project in an area consisting of 22 farms in the Koup area near Laingsburg. They work under die direct supervision of Prof Justin O’Riain, an ecologist.
Read the full article drafted by Tisha Steyn that was published in AgriOrbit on 27 July 2017 (https://agriorbit.com/effect-predators-small-stock-karoo/), or download it below. (Added 8/20/17
'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. (Added 12/11/17
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 12/7/17
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 12/12/17
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 12/7/17
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 3/14/18
TRANS GOURITZ CYCLOCROSS & MTB TOUR - 23-27 May 2018
The Trans Gouritz Cyclocross and Mountain Bike Tour will be in a different place each year. This year will be the 1st Trans Gouritz event and it will be in the Southern Cape in the Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn region. This year the riders will cycle over 3 mountains in 5 days, the Langeberge, the Rooiberge and the Outeniqua berge with the Gouritz river traversing between the Langeberge and the Rooiberge. It is an exciting Non Technical MTB and CycloCross Bike Stage Event with mainly gravel roads and jeep tracks. It is suitable for CycloCross Bikes and MTB. On the event you can get spoiled each day with a massage, great food and great hospitality in the areas the race traverse through. By taking part in the Trans Gouritz Event you also support the work of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve to bring us all closer to a sustainable world!
For more information and to enter, please click the following link:
http://trisport.co.za/trievent/trans-gouritz-5-day-mtb-and-cyclocross-race/ (Added 2/5/18
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.
Reporting to the Chief Executive, holds responsibility for drawing and communicating lessons from the GCBR’s work through projects which have learning investments linked to an evaluation system. (Closing date for applications extended to 2 Feb 2018) (Added 12/15/17
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