National Conservancy Conferences & Awards

 

Biodiversity Stewardship South Africa (BSSA) and National Association of Conservancies of South Africa (NACSSA) AGM / Workshop June 2007 held at Malonjeni Lodge

 

 

 

Getting together with other provinces taught us much. We worked hard and brain stormed on many pertinent issues. It was an awesome week filled with many memories and late nights. We are happy to report back to our Members that things are happening and so is positive change.

The VIP awards evening on Wednesday 13 June was a highlight and was well attended by Midvaal Executive Mayor and Councilors. It is encouraging to have the Midvaal Council support us as we work hard at grass root level to take care of our ever decreasing biodiversity.

What is Stewardship?

Feedback from 2nd National Stakeholder Workshop for the Biodiversity Stewardship South Africa (BSSA) program held recently at Malonjeni Guest Farm, Midvaal

(BSSA) Biodiversity Stewardship – South Africa is a national initiative.  To develop a generic, simple, but effective stewardship model for the provincial authorities and conservation agencies (including NGO’s) to implement, which will significantly expand the effective protected area network across the landscape, in all biomes of South Africa.

Simply put, the aim is to identify threatened areas of high biodiversity value, then manage, maintain and protect these areas through a national land management plan.

As the first year of the BSSA program draws to a close huge progress has been made in the development and formulation of this national biodiversity management framework plan. What is becoming abundantly clear to both DEAT (Department Environmental Affairs & Tourism) as well as to NACSSA and EWT is that “Conservancies” are fast becoming the crucial entry point or lower level of this program. As voluntary based community organizations they represent a staggering 30 million hectares of privately owned land within South Africa but outside of already protected natural areas.  This project is ongoing and will continue with year two starting shortly. Helen Duigan and Ivan Parkes are NACSSA’s advisors on the committee of the BSSA.

Existing progress and reports as regards this program can be found on the EWT’s (Endangered Wildlife Trust’s) website http://www.ewt.org.za  An additional and exciting development supporting the goals of this program is the continuously updated interactive online Environmental Impact Assessment Toolkit which can be found at web address http://www.eiatoolkit.ewt.org.za

A common concern of the week shared both by BSSA and NACSSA was that of “Climate Change” & the effects to “Biodiversity” that will be felt from now through 2050 onwards. Huge concern exists currently with regard to this subject and was echoed by Dr Nick King (EWT)  Dr Peter Lukey (Chief Director Air Quality & Climate Change DEAT)  Air pollution hotspots, Vaal Air-Shed priority area re Air Quality Management Plan on Pollution.

 

 Anthony Duigan & Hilton Barber  Anthony Duigan & Hilton Barber

Athony Duigan NACSA Chairman2007 / 2008 with Hilton Butler Previous Chairman

 

NACSSA Awards 2007

The NACSSA award is given to Non members of NACSSA who have promoted Community Conservation and helped NACSSA to achieve our goals

 

Councilor Franci Hossack

Franci has been a councillor with the Midvaal council for over 8 years. She has promoted conservancies not only in Midvaal but wherever she goes. She treats everyone with respect .Her hospitality towards any helpless people is to be admired.  “Almal se Moeder” she helped form the first informal settlement Conservancy in Gauteng, Tswelopele.  Franci NACSSA is proud of you keep up the good work.

 

Franci Hossack 

Executive Mayor Alderman Marti Wenger and Councilor Franci Hassack

Danielle Thompson

Danielle has unselfishly worked many hours for NACSSA she did our application for the IUCN she also did the documentation for NACSSA’s application to become a Non Profit Organisation.  She also helped with the document that helped us win the M&G award last Friday.  She is presently the Secretary of Thorntree Conservancy.  She has also done all the secretarial work for both the Gauteng Conservancy Association and NACSSA which is not an easy task as she has to work with Ivan Parkes who wants everything done yesterday and also checks everything with hawk’s eyes.  She has always been available to promote NACsSA, last year she promoted NACSSA at the Welverdiend Country Fair and at Wits University.

 

Danielle Thompson 

NACSSA Chairman Anthony Duigan, Executive Mayor Alderman Marti Wenger and Danielle Thompson

 

 

The NACSSA Chairman’s Award is given to members of NACSSA who have shown outstanding commitment and service to NACSSA

Dr Vicky Ahlmann

Dr. Vicky Ahlmann, who was awarded the 2005 Endangered wildlife Trust Conservationist of the Year, is a veterinary surgeon who originally hails from Berlin, Germany.  She is currently working as the Riverine Rabbit Working Group Manager at the Endangered Wildlife Trust.  The Riverine Rabbit, whose natural habitat is the Western and Northern Cape, falls under the endangered species list.

Vicky solely promotes conservancies within the Northern Cape Province in order to try and preserve the environment of the little creatures she is so passionate about.  Last year’s NACSSA meeting was held in Sandveld in the Free State.  On her way to this meeting, Vicky travelled with a stuffed mounted rabbit that she uses at uses at exhibitions. The road was so bumpy resulting in the rabbit bouncing around to such an extent that she later exclaimed “Ivan, I got such a fright, I thought the rabbit had come to life.”  Conservation and more specifically the Riverine Rabbit are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated individual of this calibre looking after their interests.

 

Dr. Vicky Ahlmann 

Dr. Vicky Ahlmann

 

Jean Lindsey

In 1988 she was presented with an M Net Green Trust Award on behalf of the Wildlife Society for her contribution to the work on the Metropolitan Open Space System. In 1993 her work with the Fulton School for the Deaf's Recycling Project resulted in the school being one of the finalists on the M Net green Trust Award. In 1999 she won the KZN Wildlife Conservation Award, in the Individual Category, in recognition of outstanding commitment and contribution to the natural environment of KZN. Also in 1999 the Inner West City Council of Durban paid tribute to her for her service to the broader community in her conservation work.

In 2003 she won the WESSA conservationist of the Year Award. She has sat on a number of committees in various environmental associations, from Wessa and EEASA to The Natal Bird Club, KwaZulu Recycling Forum, EKZN Wildlife Honorary Officers and has been the Chairperson of the New Germany Conservancy and KZN Conservancies Association. In 1997 Jean retired after 30 years of teaching to pursue her interests in nature conservation and broader environmental issues. She was an environmental consultant for a while and is now an eThekwini Municipal Councilor. When she is not editing the Guineafowl Magazine, conducting "froggy operatics", fighting unscrupulous developers or keeping the various government departments on their toes, Jean keeps fit by hiking, scuba diving and mountain biking.

 

Jean Lindsey

NACSA Chairman Anthony Duigan ,Executive Mayor Alderman Marti Wenger and Jean Lindsay

 

Bob Dehning

Bob Dehning has made a huge impact on the conservancy scene since he and his wife, Cheryl, were among the founding members of the Gauteng Conservancy Association.  One of his great passions, and area of enormous expertise, is to commune with trees - at least that is what one would think when one sees Bob and Cheryl discussing the intimate characteristics of various indigenous tree types. Bob has been involved for many years with the Tree Society and has given freely of his time - as has Cheryl - to go out to conservancies and help them identify and draw up checklists of trees and other important plants on their properties.

But Bob's highest profile work has been in the "green legal" area: checking on the sensitivities of properties that come under the threat of development continually testing development applications against Gauteng's Conservation Plan assisting conservancies with expert guidance on what to do when confronted by threats of inappropriate development and habitat destruction providing checklists on the scoping reports produced by developers challenging the developers and their consultants.

In fact, environmental consultants won't like this but Bob has sometimes been one of their best educators, ensuring they fullfill their proper role and not letting them get away with sloppy work.  In this capacity he is to be found at Development Tribunal hearings across Gauteng.  He is also a networker supreme, digging out important contacts across the spectrum of environmental and conservation governance.

He also sits on two major environmental groups - the WESSA NGO Forum and the Klipriver Wetlands Forum.  This expertise he has given to NACSSA at a national level as well and he stands as one of the guardians of community-based conservation in South Africa.

 

Bob Dehnning 

Bob Dehning

 

 

 

Aardvark Provincial Award 2007

Award for best Performing Province

http://www.nacsa.org.za/Images_Files/NACSA%20Aardvark.JPG

Sculpture by artist Steven Rici

This kind of initiative has an important impact as an incentive to the provincial civil society groups facilitating and leveraging land owner investment into biodiversity conservation. Each and every Province has done outstanding work to promote community conservation in South Africa, leading to more focus on biodiversity.

NACSSA Executive committee decided that awards Gold, Silver and Bronze for the best - performing province would give the provincial associations an incentive to carry on with their excellent work.

A detailed list of activities from each province was given to the judges.  The Judges were “The team” at the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

The Exceutive Mayor of the Midvaal, Alferman Marti Wenger handed the awards to the winning provinces at the NACSSA AGM held in June 2009 at the Malonjeni Game Lodge

 

Gold: Kwa Zulu Natal Conservancy Association

The diverse action of the Conservancy Association to become involved with various aspects of Biodiversity Conservation shows the complete understanding of what Conservancies are all about, and the difference they can make within a community.

To be able to involve everyone (big and small as well as various cultures & communities) around their own environmental issues which they share within their immediate environment, shows that they are on the road of success and are in the process of strengthening the case for the environment and development in a balanced, considered and fair manner.

Carry on the 54 eThekwinini Conservancies with your good work. You are a voice to be reckoned with and your efforts will be credited in due course.

 

NACSSA2007
Anthony Duigan, Marti Wenger, Malcolm Stainbank, Jean Lindsay and Trafford Petterson

Silver: Western Cape Conservation Stewardship Association

The effort which they, have put into their last year of being operational has been spotted and well rewarded.

Well done! They received funding from the CEPF and is doing some groundbreaking work in actively developing guidelines and plans for voluntary conservation sites in conservancies which could be rolled out Nationally and used generically by all one day.

Their strength also lies in their partnerships with their local conservation authority and other Government Departments.

Keep up the education and communication. You need to keep on spreading your local knowledge and use this to capacitate and involve more partners on the landscape.

 

NACSSA2007
Anthony Duigan, Marti Wenger,Chris Martens and Stephen Smuts

 

Bronze: Mpumalanga Parks Board

300 000ha of land in private hands are conservation committed. This is great Mpumalanga and you need to keep up the good work. Even though Mpumalanga does not have a formalised conservation association yet, the interest with establishing new interest groups (conservancies) have not stopped and yet another 4 were proposed over the last year.

Your Biodiversity in your Province needs your effort and you need to honour this call.  Well done with the great work and good luck on working towards establishing your Provincial Association in 2008.

NACSSA2007
Anthony Duigan, Marti Wenger,Wilma Drodsky

 

Special Commensation: Gauteng Conservancy Association

Your immense growth (in the doubling of your numbers over the last two and a half years) in commendable.  It also does not stop there - as the amount of intitiatives and activities takin gplace for and with your emmbers in your area, is far ivershadowing your figures.  Newsletters, websites, educational tours, working with GDACE the IDP's and doing policital capaity building by taking the councilors to your unique biodiversity sites and areas of importance surely deserves a mention and a feather in your cap.

NACSSA2007
Anthony Duigan, Helen Duigan, Marti Wenger and Ivan Parkes

 

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