FoBCA Newsletter 2022 No 1
We realized with a shock that our last communication with you was in November! We apologise for the absence, but rest assured, it does not mean nothing happened. Everything but! The season is changing and nature is coming to rest, and we are about to start living ‘normally’ again after the pandemic. With regard to the FOBCA, we have had changes in our committee membership, had a talk to commemorate the Battle of Blaauwberg, were involved with many public issues/developments etc – you can read all about it below. Please always keep a look out for events on our calendar on the Home page of our website, and our Facebook page.
BATTLE OF BLAAUWBERG COMMEMORATION EVENT
Due to Covid restrictions, the annual commemoration of the Battle of Blaauwberg that took place on 8 Jan 1806 had to be low key, but there were still nearly 20 people attending the presentation “The Truth Behind the Collapse of the Waldeck Regiment” by Ian van Oordt on Sat 8 Jan 2022. Ian’s talk focused on the topic of why the Waldeckers fled the Battlefield and the factors that played a role in that.
It was a fascinating talk - research by Ian has shown that Lieutenant General Janssens was forced into making hasty decisions. It was unfortunate that two Batavian senior officers, namely Colonel Muller (5th Waldeck Regiment) and Colonel Gey (22nd Dutch Regiment) were not present when Janssens’ was planning his defense tactics. The two commanders (nor the troops) were therefore not aware of Janssens’ plan for a structured retreat. This led to the Waldeck Regiment panic and chaotic retreat. The same happened to the 22nd Dutch Regiment but their retreat was stopped in time. There were also some political repercussions after the Battle, when Major von Horne opened Court Martial proceedings against Janssens’. Janssens’ actions were exonerated by the Military Tribunal.
The FoBCA purchased a copy of Ian’s book ‘The Battle for the Cape – 1778 to 1806 - As told by those who were there’ and handed it over formally to the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve after the talk.
The Table Talk carried an article about the talk and it can be read here.
Contact Ian Van Oordt on 076 174 4091 if you would like to buy a copy of Ian’s book.
About 20 people attended the commemoration event on Saturday January 8, including Battle for the Cape 1778 – 1806 author Ian van Oordt, second from right
One of Estelle Laubscher’s paintings in the book
iNATURALIST GLOBAL CITY NATURE CHALLENGE – 2022!
You will recall that Cape Town performed excellently in this competition in the past – Cape Town won in 2 of the 3 categories in 2019, and in 2020 won again in the categories that count namely the most number of species – an amazing tally of 4588 (almost 1000 more than second place), and the most observations - an astounding 53763. The 2022 Challenge is taking place at end April, so please diarise the dates and tell all your friends and family about the Challenge.
Wherever you are on the days, you will be able to participate (even if you log your observations and upload them later when you have internet connectivity again). If you find yourself somewhere other than Cape Town at that time take a look below for other South African cities participating.
CREW will be offering some iNat training sessions, if you need or would like to give iNaturalist a shot the training schedule is attached, or whether you need a refresher course on a few of the items listed within the schedule. It's quick and easy to Register - all you need to do is click on the “Register here button” to register for the sessions. If the registration link does not work, please do use the link Click here to join the meeting to join the meeting 10 minutes before the session starts.
It is a lot of fun participating, and once you are familiar with iNaturalist, you will use it as a guide in all your outdoor excursions. Click here to find some additional information on the guidelines to participating. WESSA
Most Friends groups in Cape Town belong to WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) to endorse their official status, as does FoBCA. WESSA provides support for Friends groups, as well as a platform for them to share experience, ideas and projects. Friends groups play an important role in society and gives the community a platform to voice their concerns and comments, and get involved in conserving the environment. We encourage FoBCA members to tell their friends and families in other areas about the Friends groups in their area, or alternatively, they can start a new Friends group themselves if there is a particular area or feature that they feel needs to be protected and conserved. The list of Friends groups affiliated to WESSA Western Cape is here. WESSA WATER QUALITY WORKSHOP
In March 2022 WESSA held a very important workshop on Water Quality, and some FoBCA members attended. WESSA made the material from the conference available to its members and here you will find the full presentation by Dr Jo Barnes 'The state of our rivers is a national disaster and needs urgent intervention’ , on the state of water quality in the world, SA and locally, plus some additional information. There are some shocking statistics and findings in the presentation, for instance:
An urgent call to action is needed and we URGE you to get involved.
Dr Barnes closed her presentation with the following message:
We need citizen action to put pressure on the authorities.
Start where you stand.
Do what you can.
Use what you have.
WHAT IS IN THE VELD NOW
We hope you have noticed the Brunsvigia species everywhere in Table View. Good spots for seeing them are:
- When you drive along Otto du Plessis between Melkbosstrand and Bloubergstrand – on the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve side
- Sunset Beach – park at the Bursa Rd Car park, walk towards the beach and turn left – they are on the dunes in masses
- Along the R27 when driving between Table View and Milnerton, ie on the western side of Rietvlei along the R27.
- Near the Atlantis turnoff on the R27.
CONTROLLED BURNS IN TABLE VIEW AREA
A few people let us know in alarm in March that Blaauwberg Hill is burning. However, this was an organised controlled burn that was carried out successfully. A challenge in any controlled burn in Cape Town is of course the wind! That does not mean that burns can only take place on wind-free days – there must be a little wind to keep the fire going. And you will know that it is very difficult to predict Cape Town weather when planning an event, especially a burn with the many risks involved. Good news from the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve Manager:
‘The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve has been working very hard to rejuvenate the critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld on the Blaauwberg Hill for some time. This is due to two factors: (1) Almost no fire history in the Renosterveld on this Hill, leading to the senescence of the vegetation, and (2) history of agricultural use of this part of the Hill that may have reduced the botanical diversity.
Renosterveld that is older than a few years start to lose forage value, botanical diversity and flammable material. Fire is therefore the prime tool to bring this vegetation back into a flourishing routine of burning-germination-regrowth-reseeding-burning. Since 2019 and now in 2022 we have done prescribed burning, and found that, due to the excessive age of the veld, it is extremely hard to get some this Renosterveld to burn due to key flammable species being missing (unlike Fynbos that burns vigorously when it is ready for a fire). Nonetheless, we feel we managed to burn ample areas in this block that brought about a "mosaic" pattern of three veld ages (ie, brand new, 2 years old, and very old). Below is the fire map as updated, indicating the mosaic pattern of the recent fire (prescribed burning) history. I think it would be very interesting to see what species are returning due to the burning work, and especially this Spring-time could be interesting from a floral perspective.’
You will find more news about the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve in its latest Quarterly Report on the FoBCA website. MEMBER MATTERS
HAVING YOUR SAY:
The FOBCA has representation on many public bodies and in so doing, ensures that developments, issues, problems in the community get addressed, and in a manner that ensures that the environment (natural and cultural) is protected and preserved. As such, FoBCA has representation on the 3 Ward committees in our area (Ward 23, 107 and 113), various Environmental Liaison committees (Big Bay ELC and Blaauwberg Development ELC), as well as the Protected Areas Advisory Committees of the two reserves in our vicinity. This year, we have already provided commentary and input into the following developmental projects:
- Milnerton: The ongoing process of trying to prevent the ultimate erection of a high-rise residential building on 222/223 Weir Rd, Milnerton. The ultimate effect of the intended building can be seen in the views below when driving towards Cape Town City on Otto du Plessis Rd when you near Boundary Rd, Milnerton – Lions Head will be totally obscured. Remember, when you become aware of developments or changes like these, any public citizen has the right to register as an Interested and Affected Party (IAAP) and will be informed of the process to object or comment.
- Malmesbury: A demolition of an old structure on an erf in the historic core of Malmesbury; an application for a permit to repair a key heritage building
- Parklands: An application for an ecological burn on the Parklands Fynbos Corridor
- Darling: An application for a permit for alterations on a 60+ year old house
- Table View Beachfront development: The setback line for the development
- City of Cape Town Draft Urban Forest Policy: This has been released for public comment from 1 – 30 April 2022. The committee will be commenting on this important policy which emphasizes the importance of trees in our city environment. Individuals can also comment on this policy.
FoBCA Secretary role: The FOBCA secretary Ansa du Plessis has unfortunately resigned. Ansa has performed her secretarial duties excellently and those of you who attended some FoBCA functions in the past would have enjoyed Ansa and her husband’s straight-from-the-braai lip-licking boerewors rolls. Thank you Ansa for your loyal service, and good luck with your ventures in future. Natalie Bossi has kindly offered her services to fill the Secretary role and we welcome her to the team! Natalie is a nature lover, and has recently started conducting the Two Hills walks. She has many other skills that will be an asset to the FoBCA.
YOUR ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS:
It is already a new membership year and if you are due for renewal you will have received an email advising you of such. (Check your spam/junk folder if it's not in your inbox and please whitelist @bca email addresses.) Please renew so that you can a part of all the exciting things that are ongoing and coming up. Roy used to always compare our membership fees to the price of a coffee and muffin - well, we can still safely say that these days if you just give up 3 or 4 take-away coffees or just 1 sit-down breakfast, you and your family can have FoBCA membership for a whole year.
Visit our Website's membership page to remind yourself of all the benefits. As set out in your renewal letter the following renewal options are available:
- Go to the membership page of our website and submit your renewal online. There is the facility to attach your proof of payment.
- As a third alternative, complete the form and hand in at Eerste Steen Visitor Controller Office along with your cash which the Visitor Controller will sign for on your form. The Visitor Controller will give you a stamped copy of your form as proof of payment. Blank forms are available at Eerste Steen for your use.
Please indicate on the form whether you require a membership card or not. Last year, there were still quite a substantial number of members that never collected their membership cards, and we'd like to reduce unnecessary admin and costs. If you have indeed indicated that you require a card, you will receive an email when it is ready for collection at Eerste Steen Resort Security Kiosk, shortly after your renewal has been processed. (Important note: Membership Admin is on leave from 11 April until 15 May 2022, so no new cards will be issued during this time - please use your old card and new proof of payment in the meantime.)
Check here if you need to renew - details as at 4 April 2022:
Your Membership Type: HONORARY LIFE MEMBER
Valid until March 31: LIFE
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
|Sun 24 April 2022||
10am-3pm. The Milnerton Meander Essential market at Bloubergstrand Library where FoBCA will have a stall
|Sat 30 April 2022||
|Fri 29 April – 2 May 2022||
iNaturalist City Nature Challenge(see above)
|Last week of April||
Beach Clean-ups, organized by the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve assisted by FoBCA, occur regularly at month-end – watch out for our email sent to previous participants, and on announcements on the FoBCA facebook pages of our area. We report back every day on what was picked up, the number of volunteers who turned up etc. We need your help!