National Conservancy Conferences & Awards


Sixth NACSSA Conservancy Conference November 2009

This meeting was held in the captivating Vredefort Dome area, west of Parys, on the borders of the Orange Free State and the North West Province.

The geology is fascinating - a 10km asteroid hit this area 2 billion years ago and caused a crater 12km deep and which caused ripples in the landscape as far away as the Magaliesberg. The closest ripple created a ring of hills around Parys called the Vredefort Dome which can be seen on Google Earth at 27 00 S and 27 28 E. Here the landowners have formed the Dome Conservancy. The very beautiful Vaal River runs through the middle of all this making for some interesting sites and great birding.

Delegates at the General meeting at Habula Lodge November 2009


On the Friday evening, after ample time to settle in to the comfortable lodges and rooms, delegates watched an informative video on the area, presented by Pierre Weinberg and Warrin Flores.  The rest of the evening was spent sampling the delicious food prepared by the very talented kitchen staff and catching up with colleagues from the various regions of South Africa.

Next morning, after a more than generous breakfast, Piet Nel, from the North West Conservation Management Division of the North West Parks and Tourism Board, gave a talk on the state of conservation in the North West Province and the Department’s current initiatives regarding the integration of conservation into NWDACERD policies, ensuring compliance with EIA regulations and NEMBA.

The Department has done a lot of work identifying important environmental areas and is working on plans to utilize the areas in a way that will be beneficial to both the environment and the people living within the areas, in step with the department’s mission statement “To achieve the development and growth of a well coordinated, vibrant, diversified and sustainable economy that will create jobs and eradicate unemployment in the North West” He said that a valuable lesson has been learnt from the Molopo Nature Reserve project, which has in hindsight highlighted the need for a more in depth investigation into the basic infrastructure of an area before embarking on a project such as this.

John Wesson then presented an overview of the topic “Conservancies in the next 5 Years” which was the basis for the afternoon and Sunday working group. Which proved at times to be quite challenging for all present, as those participating were all individuals with their own ideas and views on NACSSA and the way forward?

John and Andrew Barker, who had agreed to play the role of facilitator, ran the session very well managing to maintain the balance between allowing individuals the chance to question areas they felt were not in keeping with their vision of NACSSA and express their ideas and keeping the process moving forward. The Saturday afternoon session was not helped by a huge storm and the loss of power.  The resulting strategic plan framework is available from the office.

Noel Pope of Buffelspoort Valley Conservancy in the North West gave a very interesting talk on a project he is involved in, in conjunction with individuals from the School of Environmental Sciences and Development at the North-West University.  They are carrying out a river monitoring study using diatoms, to determine that present ecological state of rivers and streams in the area. A report of the study has been published in the African Journal of Aquatic Science, a great achievement, well done to Noel and the community for their input into this ongoing study.

A great weekend of networking, idea swapping, fellowship, hiking and biking was had by all.  Thanks to our hosts Warrin and Andy.

All presentations are available from the office on request


NACSSA Annual General Meeting June 2009

The NACSSA general meeting held in Howick KZN was well attended by both Government officials and private representatives To those of you that could not make the meeting—you missed a wonderful three days of information, sharing of ideas and great fellowship with like minded people in a beautiful part of the country. There were a host of informed speakers who kept our attention throughout the sessions.

All the active regions sent in reports on the activities in their areas if they were unable to attend the meeting, and those present, presented theirs.  We had feedback from both the Free State and Mpumalanga, which have both been dormant for some time, progress is being made in resuscitating these associations, NACSSA’s aim is to have an active Association in all the provinces by this time next year.

The Regional report backs were given – these are available on disc for interested parties. All regions are very active in environmental educational projects, which are very important, without educating the ignorant we are fighting a losing battle. 

It was decided that it is very important that conservancies get involved in developments within their areas and work with the developers as far as possible, as opposed to working against them.  More can be achieved by educating developers on environmental issues and highlighting the long term benefits to all parties than opposing them totally.


NACSSA Awards 2009

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



Liz Taylor received the award on behalf of WESSA, an organization leading the way in Conservation especially for the support and encouragement given to conservancies nationally as the first line of conservation.


WESSA CEO Mamsie Gumedi, NACSA Chairman John Wesson and Liz Taylor



Andrew Barker received a certificate on behalf of EWT for their continual support of Conservancies in SA.


WESSA CEO Mamsie Gumedi, NACSA Chairman John Wesson and Andrew Barker



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

Pierre Weinberg

For his ongoing commitment to Conservancies and their future in this country as well as being a major role player in NACSSA from its inception in his professional as well as personal capacity.

Pierre Weinberg 

WESSA CEO Mamsie Gumedi, NACSA Chairman John Wesson and Pierre Weinberg


Cobus du Plessis

Andrew Barker received a certificate on behalf of Cobus du Plessis.  A dedicated Conservationist and a person committed to the development of Conservancies and NACSSA, without whose ongoing support the establishment of our secretariat would not have been possible.

Andrew Barker 

WESSA CEO Mamsie Gumedi, NACSA Chairman John Wesson and Andrew Barker


John Wesson handed Cobus his certificate at the Gauteng Conservancy & Stewardship Association’s AGM

Cobus du Plessis 

Cobus du Plessis and NACSSA Chairman John Wesson



Aardvark Provincial Award 2009

Award for best Performing Province

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.

Mamsie Gumede CEO of WESAA and John Wesson Chairman of NACSSA handed the awards to the winning provinces at the NACSSA AGM held in June 2009 in in Howick

Gold: Gauteng Conservancy & Stewardship Association

Mamsie Gumede. John Wesson and Ivan Parkes


Silver: Kwa Zulul Natal Conservancy Association

Mamsie Gumede. John Wesson and Malcolm Stainbank


Bronze: Eastern Cape Conservancy Association

Mamsie Gumede. John Wesson and Andrew Barker













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