FoBCA Member Newsletter – June 2018
Feedback from recent events
The first post-AGM FoBCA committee meeting was held, and your new FoBCA committee was established to serve for the next financial year. With the exception of Roy Fuller-Gee, most of the previous committee members carried over their current portfolios. Our long-standing chairman has finally chosen to step down as chairman in order to focus on other areas of conservation. Stephanie Muller, whom many of you have met on walks, has been elected as chairwoman in Roy's place.
I am sure everyone will agree that Roy has become an important figure in the conservation environment in Blaauwberg, and we want to express our heartfelt thanks to Roy for his hard work over the many years he served the FoBCA as chairman. Roy has grown the FoBCA into a prospering entity, with a stake in many developments and representative bodies in the region, while attracting members from all walks of life. Under his chairmanship the committee has been built up and steered to operate extremely smoothly. Roy will remain a valuable member of the committee and, as you can see from the portfolios below, he will still be as active as ever! As he concentrates his passions on the Green Coast initiative and the cultural heritage projects, we wish Roy every deserved success.
We also welcome two new committee members – Eddie Brown and Fred Metcalf who will be alternating in the Tourism portfolio.
The 2018/19 committee and their portfolios are:
CREW - Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers
TBNR - Table Bay Nature Reserve
BBNR - Blaauwberg Nature Reserve
WANR - Witsands Aquifer Nature Reserve
CoCT - City of Cape Town
FoR - Friends of Rietvlei
BCA - Blaauwberg Conservation Area
PAAC - Protected Areas Advisory Council
Thank you to everyone who renewed their membership and a warm welcome to all newcomers. The FoBCA now boasts 224 memberships. As about 60% of those memberships are families, that adds up to an encouraging number of conservation-minded people. We have implemented longer membership tenures, and have received our first 10 year memberships – thank you David Morrison and Dena Chan! We have 37 Honorary members and 11 Life members, whose names we will be adding to our website sometime soon.
We have printed a full-colour brochure to give the public an overview of the FoBCA and the benefits of becoming a member. You can help with creating awareness and spreading the word, using the PDF version which you can find here. You can print it out and keep as reference, or distribute to anyone who wants to know more about the FoBCA.
RESERVE ENTRY FEES INCREASE
Please note that Entry fees to the BBNR Eerste Steen Resort have increased to R16 pp (18 yrs+), R9 pp (3-17 yr olds) and R24 per vehicle. However, if you are a member of FoBCA, you enter for free.
- Sat 7 Jul - CREW Coastal Trail Botanical Walk - (More information)
- Sat 28 Jul - Two Hills Family Walk - (More information)
- Sat 4 Aug - WESSA BFG Big Bash - (More information)
- Fri 31 Aug - Launch of coastal area of BBNR as a Green Coast site.
- Sat 29 Sep - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run - new starting point to be at Table Bay Mall!
NEWS FROM OUR CREW MEMBERS by Petra Broddle (BCA CREW Volunteer)
The FoBCA CREW is one of the groups affiliated with the Friends of the Blaauwberg Conservation Area (FoBCA). It's a citizen science project drawing on volunteers to find, record and monitor the red-listed plant species in our area. The programme is funded by SANBI and The Botanical Society of South Africa, and our HQ is based at Kirstenbosch.
The Western Cape is a rich mosaic of habitats based on the extraordinary geology and climate of the region. The mountain vegetation has long enjoyed protection but it's very different on the Cape Flats. Just as plants and animals can be red-listed, so too can vegetation types. The type of red list status tells us how likely it is, that a species or vegetation type will become extinct. A quarter of South African species are red-listed.
Now, you might very well be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with me?" Well, we all live in places once occupied by one of these now red-listed vegetation types. What lives and dies in our gardens often has to do with the soil type. CREW explores the fragments and corridors of vegetation that remain on farms, servitudes, road reserves and in protected areas, and it's fantastic way of seeing places you might never otherwise have access to.
At the start of June all the CREW groups from the Cape Floristic Region or winter rainfall region gathered for their annual workshop. It's an opportunity to hear from groups as far afield as Nieuwoudtville and Grahamstown, and a chance for the heads from across the South Africa to also share what their regions have been up to. The various guest speakers included Stuart Hall who spoke about the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos restoration project at the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Botanist Christopher Whitehouse shared his knowledge of Cliffortia, followed by a practical session with specimens and microscopes. The workshop included two field trips, including one to the Phillipskop Mountain Reserve near Stanford with its Overberg Sandstone Fynbos. The second field trip was to Lucerne, a property with a mixture of vegetation types. Rather uniquely, this reserve is funded by a German tax offset.
Saturday evening was the botanical quiz, and our team The Black and Blues (the Swartland and Blaauwberg CREWs) finished a respectable fourth. Stephen Cousins knew the longest plant name, apparently Englerophytum magalismontanum (although this was hotly contested) and from my time at the South London Botanical Institute I managed to remember the smallest flowering plants - Wolffia. Tragically young Stephen, who was the champion of the Swartland CREW, died after a car accident the following week.
The Hottentots Holland and OuTramps (based in George) CREW teams reported back about visits to areas burnt and the rare plants that followed. The Mosselbaai CREW group is fighting development, and a legacy of apathy regarding the natural areas that remain. The Nieuwoudtville group spoke about the impact of the drought, and how excited they were about the recent rains. The theme of the BCA CREW presentation was New Places, and I spoke about our findings at Blaauwberg Farm, the Melkbosstrand Conservation Corridor, the Sunningdale Ephemeral Pan, the Sandown Fynbos Corridor, the Parklands Fynbos Corridor, and the Search and Rescues at the new Rivergate industrial development. We have visited new sites along the West Coast and in the Swartland as well.
This year I would like to focus on hopefully finding key priority species, many which do require a wetter winter. So fingers crossed please.
We are always looking for new volunteers from a variety of backgrounds from students to the newly retired. Whether you have IT skills, photographic skills, or good old fashioned curiosity and a willingness to learn, be prepared for a life changing experience. The OuTramps CREW based in George has the slogan "Adventure before Dementia". If you are interested, come join us on the Coastal Dune Hiking Trail the first Saturday of each month for a taster. The Flower Guide that covers the most common species on the trail is for sale at Eerstesteen or at Plants on 6th, Melkbosstrand for R100.
Group photo of 2018 CREW Workshop taken at Phillipskop Mountain Reserve, near Stanford.
BCA CREW... Petra Broddle, Hester Pentz (Atlantic Beach Conservation Area), Dale Slabbert (BBNR), and Reward Nzuza (Zoarvlei).
Photograph by Chris Whitehouse
FoBCA Membership Communication