FoBCA Member Newsletter – October 2018
FoBCA wins the National Award for Groups!
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), paid tribute to a wide range of outstanding environmental achievements with the presentation of the organisation’s Annual Awards at the 92nd Annual General Meeting which was hosted by WESSA’s Eastern Cape membership branch at Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth on Saturday 15 September 2018. The WESSA Awards, which have been presented since 1974, enable WESSA to recognise and honour those who have made a significant contribution to the environmental conservation or environmental education sector in South Africa over the past year in an exceptional and sustained manner. The WESSA Group Award was presented to the Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area under the leadership of Roy Fuller-Gee.
Green Coast Status!
The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve was awarded the first WESSA Green Coast award in South Africa in September 2018. The Friends of BCA and the City of Cape Town are the implementing partners and have ensured that the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve have met all the WESSA Green Coast criteria.
Blaauwberg Nature Reserve was proclaimed a local and provincial nature reserve in 2007. The Reserve has a spectacular view down fynbos slopes, across the city, to seven kilometres of rocky and sandy coastline and the ocean and beyond. The Reserve presents itself as one of the few viewpoints in the world from where you can see two proclaimed world heritage sites, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island. The Reserve effectively conserves critically endangered fauna and flora species, one of which is the African Black Oyster catcher.
FoBCA Member Newsletter – August 2018
Launch of the Blaauwberg Green Coast site on Fri 14 Sep:
Friday 14 Sep is the official launch of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (BBNR) coastal strip as a Green Coast – the first in the country!
Friends of BCA (FoBCA) members are invited to come and hear all about the project and the benefits it will have for tourism and the environment. Come and join us for a Bring & Braai. Please bring your own meat, salads, eating utensils (everything except fire and grid!). Hope to see you there!
Place: Eerste Steen
Date and Time: Fri 14 Sep from 14h00 onwards.
Remember - members of FoBCA pay no entrance fee to Eerste Steen.
Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run and Fun Walk on Sat 29 Sep 2018:
Please diarise this event, co-hosted by the West Coast Athletics Club (WCAC), Friends of BCA and City of Cape Town, and proudly sponsored by Table Bay Mall. Everyone is enthusiastic about the new starting point and new venue at Table Bay Mall. There are many arrangements to be made to organise the trail run, especially for the first time, including an Event Application to the City of Cape Town, planning the route, ensuring that there are medical support facilities, organising the cannon firing at the start, etc. We hope that the FoBCA members and the general public of Blouberg/Table View and beyond will arrive in big numbers to support the runners/walkers and enjoy the festivities.
The City of Cape Town plans to create a series of three (3) Trail Runs on City of Cape Town Nature Reserves, as this has been an international and local request. With your support, the BBNR will become one of the chosen Reserves!
Click https://www.entryninja.com/events/event/33402-battle-up-blaauwberg-hill to find out more about the Trail runs and to enter.
In the week preceding the event, there will be exhibitions in the Table Bay Mall in front of Checkers. These will include exhibits of fynbos species and items relating to the Battle of Blaauwberg, displays showing the work done by Blaauwberg Nature Reserve staff and West Coast tourism bodies, a WCAC information desk, etc. Please pay a visit to the exhibition stands when you are in Table Bay Mall during that time.
For those of us not so inclined to run, we have arranged a 6km Kleinberg Fun Walk for later in the morning. The route will also take you into the Reserve, up to Kleinberg and back. Please bring all your friends and make it a social occasion. You will be able to walk at your own pace, and all participants will receive a lovely memento at the end of the Walk.
Registration starts at 10h00 at Table Bay Mall in front of Checkers. You can also enter the Fun Walk here https://goo.gl/forms/CpOv9CNZDWKb7mSt2.
Members of the FoBCA (you are welcome to join on the day) enter at no cost. Entry fees for non-members of the FoBCA: Adults R50, Children (aged 3-17), students and senior citizens R10.00.
Plant species of the BBNR:
Ever wondered about the diversity of plant and animal species that occur on the BBNR? Well, here is a shortcut to see what wonderful sightings have been done in our Reserve. iNaturalist is an interesting site, which is also available as an app on your mobile, and our CREW team have been recording and storing their discoveries on here:
2. Dr Dan Sleigh's presentation 8th September at Genealogical Society - VOC Outstations at the Cape
It is always good to hear from our dear friend Dr/Prof Dan SLEIGH - if you want to know more about this subject please do not miss this opportunity to listen to an inspirational "Oracle" on early Cape History.
3. Fynbos ID course
For many of us, figuring out how to identify plants is a challenging process. Here is the answer. Wendy Hitchcock’s Fynbos ID Courses are always popular and will definitely help you come to grips with field guides and where to start with plant identification. She is a botanist, artist and experienced environmental educator who teaches people of all ages. She loves the challenge of finding new practical ways to assist participants to understand plants better. Get all the information on the attached brochure.
If you are already an expert, please pass this information on to others who may like to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about plant identification.
4. CTEET Birdathon
Pre-register for the Birdathon now!
Come and join us for the Annual False Bay Nature Reserve Birdathon, hosted by CTEET, Birdlife South Africa and the City of Cape Town
20 October 2018
7.30 - 14.00
False Bay Nature Reserve, Eastern Shore Picnic Site
Entry on the day is R5 per person, but pre-registered groups gain free entry.
The annual Birdathon is a festival and fun-walk to celebrate our natural heritage and places of nature. It is designed to be an educational and fun-filled morning to learn about and explore False Bay Nature Reserve.
The morning will begin with an interactive 4km, 5km or 6km fun walk through False Bay Nature Reserve.
This will be followed by the Birdathon Festival with exhibits, games and activities, food and drinks, and fun for the whole family.
For updates and more information, follow the event on Facebook!
Pre-registered groups will receive:
- Free entry to the event with access to the fun walk routes and festival
- Activity books for children
- A free drink and meal
5. Feedback from WESSA BFG event held at Rondevlei Nature Reserve Sat 4 Aug 2018
Conservation is alive and well throughout the urban areas of Cape Town; although warnings of the fragility of our eco-systems were powerfully expressed at the recent bi-annual WESSA 'Big Friends Group' event held at Rondevlei with co-hosts Zeekoeivlei/Rondevlei Friends Group. The event attracted 75 people from twenty Western Cape Friends Groups as well as representatives from local environmental projects and organisations.
A rainbow at dawn overarched the first forty guests, who braved the cold to enjoy guided bird walks on the reserve, setting the tone for the rest of the day. The thrill of seeing evidence of a hippo that had passed by during the night only added to the experience.
Westlake-based CTEET (Cape Town Environment Education Trust) was well represented during the morning talks – Topic: Urban Conservation. The aim of CTEET was exemplified in all the discussions: “To support the preservation of Cape Town’s unique and biodiverse natural heritage through education, training and conservation initiatives.”
For a detailed summary of the BFG event and talks, including links and contact details of the various organisations mentioned, click here. To read the article written by Karen Watkins for Table Talk, click here. Also have a look at some of the photos taken at the event by clicking here.
6. Forthcoming events
- Fri 14 Sep - Official launch of coastal area of BBNR as a Green Coast site 14h00, FoBCA Bring and Braai. See details above
- Sat 29 Sep - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run. See details above
- Sat 27 Oct - Two Hills Family Walk - (More info)
NPO Registration No. 068-317
FoBCA Member Newsletter – July 2018
1. Friends' matters
• Being the eyes and ears: People often mention that Friends’ members are the eyes and ears that alert authorities about conservation matters. A good example of this is a recent event where a member of the public saw road kill on the R27 between Melkbosstrand and Bloubergstrand and thought it looked like ‘an animal with a fluffy tail’. It was reported to the Chairman of the Friends of BCA, who in turn reported it to the Conservation officer of the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. It turned out to be the carcass of a Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas). This is a sad, but a very interesting sighting, as the last confirmed sighting of a Black-backed jackal in BBNR was in April 2013 on the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos restoration site, east of Blaauwberg Hill.
Not an issue with fauna or flora, but just as disturbing, is the vandalism of BBNR signboards. Signs at Haakgat and Derde Steen were recently spray-painted, rendering them unusable. If you see or hear anything that can help prevent this sort of costly destruction to City of Cape Town property meant to inform the Reserve users, please contact BBNR Management Staff.
• The Flower Guide, product of our CREW members, has been selling very well at the various nurseries in Table View (Starke Ayres, Plants on 6th , etc). With Spring coming, now is the time to get your brochure and take a walk on the Coastal Dune Trail. As the flower guide is arranged according to colour of flowers, identifying flowering plants is easy!
2. WESSA BFG (Big Friends Group) event – Sat 4 Aug 2018
You will remember last year we reported back on the 2017 event, as it was a great success with fascinating lectures that elicited a lot of interest. We have no doubt that this year’s event will again be of similar appeal. All members of the Friends of BCA are welcome to attend. The due date for booking is on 31 Jul 2018.
Click here for all the details including the programme for the day
3. News and call for suggestions from Nicky Rheeder, Councillor – Ward 107
Please read the excerpt from Nicky Rheeder, even though it is past the 23rd - perhaps your idea is so good they will still consider it:
I’d like to have as many suggestions as possible by 23 July 2018 so that we can start the planning and action!'
4. Update on Reserve Fauna and Flora
We were always under the impression 10 Eland in the Reserve is something to brag about, but after confirmation from various sources, we can safely and proudly say that there are now 12! Here are some pictures taken very recently, showing the two new arrivals:
The last group of hikers on the Two Hills walk was very lucky to have seen them very close by. Eland are naturally very curious and they were eyeing the group with keen interest. They seem to be flourishing in their Reserve habitat.
The question is often asked – where do the animals in the Reserve find water to drink, especially in view of the recent drought? The answer is that there are various small waterholes on the slopes of the two hills (Kleinberg and Blaauwberg Hill) that have water - albeit little - and they were cleared to allow for easy access during the dry months; Borreldam, the fountain close to Blaauwbergsvlei, also had a little water; a water tank was placed close to where the honey badger was housed during his rehabilitation just below the contour path; and the dune fields where the alien vegetation clearing is taking place, also have a few waterholes.
With the recent rains, pans in the Reserve, that have been low or totally dry in the last few years, are all suddenly filled up with water! Here are a few examples of these beautiful sights:
According to Petra Broddle, the vernal ponds ON Blaauwberg Hill are also full of water. On Thursday 19th July the BCA CREW found Miniature Waterblommetjies Aponogeton angustifolius in one of the ponds. A small and delicate species, it is less than half the size of the Waterblommetjie that people eat in waterblommetjiebredie. This species is red listed as Vulnerable, and is of conservation concern. These pools have been dry for a long time, but these plants managed to survive.
• Two new Quarterly reports, for Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (BBNR) and Table Bay Reserve, have been added to the BCA website on the Reserve Management page. Please take time to read them. Have you for instance heard of the Ocellated Thick-toed Gecko or the Obese Lily Weevil? Well, they have been spotted in the Reserve. The BBNR report also contains more background information to the Caracal/Atlantic Beach Estate issue.
• Feel like some colouring in? We recently noticed this lovely colouring-in book:
Colouring-in is a favourite children’s pastime and has become a therapeutic form of adult relaxation. This new addition to Struik Nature’s ‘Read, colour and keep’ series will give hours of fun, while also expanding the reader’s knowledge of the natural world.
Why is Bulbine such a useful plant? Which flowers can we eat, and which are poisonous? What is South Africa’s national flower? Why do some flowers give off a rotten smell? Who pollinates our beautiful flowers? Children and adults alike will learn interesting facts while enjoying hours of fun colouring in this selection of our most striking flowers. They can consult the colour guide in the middle of the book when choosing which shade of crayon or paint to use for the more than 40 outlined images – or make up their own fantastically-hued flowers! Now available here or check your local book store.
6. Forthcoming events
- Sat 28 Jul - Two Hills Family Walk - (More info)
- Sat 4 Aug - WESSA BFG Big Bash - (More info)
- Sat 4 Aug - CREW Coastal Trail Botanical Walk - (More info)
- Thu 23 Aug - Battle of Blaauwberg presentation at Rietvlei cabin. Dave Honour, whom you will know is our resident expert on the topic, has some research and new findings to share.
- Sat 25 Aug - Two Hills Family Walk
- Fri 14 Sep - Launch of coastal area of BBNR as a Green Coast site (More detail will follow at a later date)
- Sat 22 Sep - Battle of Blaauwberg Walk
- Sat 29 Sep - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run. A few people have been working hard behind the scenes planning for this annual event: the new routes starting at the southern BBNR gate close to Table Bay Mall have to be measured out; a fun walk is being planned; there will be a promotion of the event held over the preceding days inside Table Bay Mall; etc. Please diarise this date and spread the word, so we can have a good turnout - the event is open to everyone: trail runners, fun walkers and all their supporters.
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.
FoBCA Member Newsletter – May 2018
• The AGM of the Friends of BCA was held on Sat 26 May 2018. Attendees heartily greeted each other, taking their coffee and rusks in the wonderfully warm winter sunshine prior to the meeting.
Rob Slater from WESSA gave an excellent talk on the Green Coast initiative, what it entails and what will be required from responsible parties in order to retain this status. The Blaauwberg beach within the BBNR is the first pilot site in South Africa. Big Bay beach, Bloubergstrand lost its Blue Flag status a while ago, and it is imperative that we succeed with this initiative.
Rob has given us a copy of his slide presentation, to share with members on request. Keep a look out on the FoBCA website where it will be made available for your perusal.
The area included in the 1st Phase of the Green Coast initiative is shown below. As we gain experience with the initiative, we intend to include additional areas adjoining the Blaauwberg beach and coast line.
The business part of the meeting started with the Chairman’s Report and election of committee members. The FoBCA treasurer's report revealed an excellent financial year, building its funds through various events, and a substantial increase in membership numbers. A proposal to increase membership fees was accepted and to come into effect from 1 April 2019. With immediate effect, members can now opt to pay membership fees for either 5 or 10 years in advance at the current rates. This means members can avoid having to renew membership each year and, as an added bonus, save on future fee increases. (See updated Membership Form for new long term fees.)
For a peek at what your membership fees have covered in the last few months: salt licks for the eland and hartebeest antelope on the BBNR; printing of the new FoBCA information brochure (which was introduced to all at the AGM); bus transportation of under-privileged children to an environmental education session; website maintenance; gun powder for cannon firing; and the list goes on – thank you Friends for your continued support!
• A wonderful time was had by those who joined the 5 May Two Hills Walk. All of them were inspired to become new members of the Friends of BCA. Take a look at the photos from the day on our Facebook page.
• The Tortoise Talk was held on Sat 21 April at the Rietvlei cabin, and was extremely well attended. Some very fascinating facts were shared. Did you know for instance that if a tortoise releases that smelly liquid on being picked up, they become dehydrated? Once picked up, people often take them to a spot unfamiliar to the tortoise, and if there is no water nearby and it is a sunny day, the tortoise can then die of dehydration! So please always place a bowl of water close to the tortoise if it has been moved. For those interested in knowing more and who were not able to attend, click here. The presentation will also be made available on the FoBCA website.
• Battle of Blaauwberg 1806 Interpretive Centre on Blaauwberg Hill
Remember the generator room close to the top of Blaauwberg Hill on the left? Those who have done the walks to Blaauwberg Hill will know this last slightly steep section of the route. The FoBCA was given a donation of R100 000 with which to renovate and refurbish the room for display, information and meeting purposes with chairs, a video projector and a generator. These improvements are nearing completion, and the Battle of Blaauwberg 1806 Interpretive Centre will soon be available for use. You will all be invited to an official opening - keep an eye on your emails for details.
• Sat 7 Jul 9am (and first Saturday of every month) - CREW Botanical Walk starting at Eerste Steen - contact Petra Broddle on 079 776 3701
• Tue 5 Jun - World Environmental Day
• Fri 8 Jun - World Oceans Day
• Sat 29 Sep - Battle Up Blaauwberg Trail Run - new starting point to be at Table Bay Mall!