FoBCA Newsletter 2021 No 3

The winter solstice was this week, however while we can look forward to longer days, winter in the Western Cape is surely still to come. We hope that you are keeping warm, but also taking time to experience winter outdoors. This is the season in which our surf sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the great stretch of coastline we are privileged to have in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. Winter is also the time when many aspects of nature lie dormant, so we can observe the unique wonders of this quiet season without the flash and constant action of summer. The FoBCA most certainly does not lie dormant in winter - environmental work continues as you can see from the many activities below... 

Friends of BCA AGM – Sat 17 July 2021

Please diarise the morning of Saturday 17 July, 09h30 – 12h00 for the FoBCA AGM.

We will send the Agenda out to members closer to the time. Besides the usual official proceedings, you can look forward to a special guest speaker: Chris Murphy. Chris is a well-known heritage practitioner in the Western Cape, specifically knowledgeable in heritage of the Swartland area. His topic will be ‘The Old Highway Revisited’ and echos Dr EE Mossop’s book ‘Old Cape Highways’ published in 1927. It will cover the route then, and how it evolved into what it is today. This should be a fascinating talk.
 
The AGM will be held as usual in the EE cabin at Eerste Steen. Strict Covid regulations will apply, and you will be asked to BOOK to attend the AGM as only 20 people will be allowed in the Cabin. However, we will make an online facility available for you to watch the proceedings live. Please look out for our email with the Agenda and booking requests a week before the time.

Beach Clean-ups

The most important aspect of maintaining the Green Coast status of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve’s coastal area, is keeping our beaches clean. Beach clean-ups are held regularly every month-end, sometimes alternating with clean-ups along the Melkbosstrand beach area. 

 
The public and FoBCA members have supported these organised clean-ups to a dwindling degree. We are aware that because sessions are held on weekday mornings, it is difficult for school children and working people to give their time, but even Saturday morning sessions have had a low turnout. The amount of litter never seems to decrease, so we continually need participants. We urge you to please support these clean-ups, even if you can come only on Saturday mornings. Even a small amount of your time, at any time during the morning, counts as a contribution. It is refreshing to be outdoors (very little Covid risk) and it is a meditative activity. 
 
On a more positive note – we have noticed many more people actively removing litter while out walking in public. We reckon it is our clean-up program playing an influential role in creating awareness of the problem and promoting action. Just this last Sunday morning in the busy West Beach area, a middle-aged couple was seen armed with litter pickers and packets busy picking up litter. Onlookers were conscious of their efforts and hopefully inspired to follow the example.
 
Here are details of the next clean-up between 29 June – 3 July. Hope to see you there!

News images for June 2021

Get ready for the City Nature Challenge 2021!

Once again Cape Town performed very well, winning two of the three sections of the City Nature Challenge – No of Observations, and No of Species. Due to Covid, the focus was not on competition so much as rather stimulating public participation. It nevertheless gave a warm feeling to once again realise how special Cape Town is in its diversity and abundance of fauna and flora, compared to other cities in the world.

News images for June 2021

Members of the CREW team, with their extensive knowledge of flora, participated in their numbers, and also helped with the identification of the thousands of photographs submitted on iNaturalist by the public. Quite a few of our FoBCA members also helped with bird and reptile identification – it was a mammoth task well done!

CREW visiting the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve during the City Nature Challenge 2021…

News images for June 2021

Read more about the City Nature Challenge here.

WESSA funding - Alien clearing

The FoBCA has recently been successful in applying for funding from WESSA to aid with the alien vegetation clearing on the eastern side of Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. As a result of Covid, many areas that were due for clearing in 2020 could not be cleared, and this allowed the ever-present Port Jacksons to grow to sizeable trees that are that much harder to uproot than young saplings. The funding has enabled the Reserve to involve an alien clearing contractor. This City of Cape Town clearing body, our loyal FoBCA alien clearing sub-committee and Reserve staff have been able to make a HUGE difference to the area of Port Jacksons that had 'mushroomed' alongside the road towards the Hill. Below are some before and after photos. We thank WESSA for the funds, and our active Alien Clearing team for their support.

An early start!

News images for June 2021

BEFORE clearing – the extent of the growth of the Port Jacksons can clearly be seen here. 

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The teams hard at work

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AFTER clearing! Right now it is a beautiful sight to see how the fynbos, suppressed before, is re-emerging, growing and looking healthy. 

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The full Team!

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Protected Areas Advisory Committees (PAACs)

 
There is a PAAC for each of the twelve nature reserves and protected natural environments around Cape Town. The PAACs exist to facilitate a participative approach in respect of protected areas’ management and they represent the interests of all stakeholders, internal and external. They not only address nature, but also heritage, developmental, tourism and other aspects relevant to a specific reserve. 
Four of these PAACs are concerned with areas inside the greater Blaauwberg Conservation Area, namely: Blaauwberg Nature Reserve; Table Bay Reserve (including Rietvlei, Diep River, Milnerton Racecourse and Zoarvlei); Witzands Aquifer (including the Klein Dassenberg Hills) and, a valuable addition to the list, the recently established Ganzekraal Conservation Area. 
Unlike other reserves that are managed by City of Cape Town, Ganzekraal Conservation Area is managed by Cape Nature. The area covered by this PAAC is pictured below. 

News images for June 2021

Organisations with an interest in nature reserves can apply to become members of one or more of the committees. The FoBCA has had member representation of these four reserves’ PAACs for the last 3 years. All memberships are for a period of three years, and a new 3-year period is being entered now, with the FoBCA applying for representation again. More information about the PAACs can be obtained here.

Reserve news

  • The herd of Eland has grown rapidly since they were brought over from Koeberg four years ago - from a mere 8, the number grew to 28 in the last few months. It was decided to relocate 21 of these, and the Reserve is now left again with a manageable 8 Eland (1 bull, 5 cows, 1 sub-adult cow, and 1 juvenile of unknown gender born after the capture). Please look out for them when you pass the Reserve on the R27! 
  • The Atlantis & Blouberg Roteract Club visited Blaauwberg Nature Reserve for a sponsored walk on the Hiking Trail for fundraising. These youth groups help with local feeding schemes. We are hopeful that FoBCA can forge links with them and similar youth groups in the area

News images for June 2021

Calendar of events

Date

Event

 
Sat 26 June

Two Hills Walk: SMS Stephanie Muller on 083 679 4642 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to book your place or if you want to find out more. 

Tue 29 Jun – Sat 3 Jul 

 
Beach Clean-up Melkbosstrand (see poster above)

Sat 3 July 

CREW Coastal Dune Hiking Trail : 09h00 - 12h30 Eerste Steen. Contact Kay Loubser at 072 428 4488 for more information.

Sat 17 July

FoBCA AGM (see above)

Every Tuesday 

Alien Hacking team on the eastern side of Blaauwberg Reserve. Contact Eddie Heimann at 082 924 4778 to join.

Sat 31 July

Battle of Blaauwberg Walk For more information or to book your attendance, call/SMS Dave Honour at 082 906 4875 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

For your enjoyment on those cold winter days...

These items were recently brought to our attention by members, and the few that we could look at, are fascinating and motivational. We hope you can take time to enjoy them..

  • The Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA) works to influence, accelerate and bring about the protection of rain forests and selected eco-systems in Sub-Saharan Africa by taking hands with various partners and through many projects.
  • The LCA want people to talk about conservation, to stand up and tell their stories. Based on the TED Talks concept, Spark Talks invite a diverse and interesting set of speakers to share their love for nature and their conservation stories. In 2020, when the world went into lockdown, Spark Talks migrated online as Unlocking Nature. Hosted live over Zoom, Unlocking Nature allows conservationists and conservation companies to share their stories, research and adventures with audiences across the globe – from the comfort of their homes.
  • Through the LCA's digital projects, conservation-centered dialogue is brought to like-minded audiences who share a passion for conservation. Check them out on You Tube: www.youtube.com/c/LeadershipforConservationinAfrica/videos
  • Prof John Compton, who talked in front of a packed audience at one of the Friends of Rietvlei member evenings in the past, has published a new book: West Coast: A Natural History. The book conveys through a series of richly illustrated essays everything that he has come to learn about the West Coast over the last 25 years. If you would like to learn more about the book, please visit his website www.johnscompton.com.

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