Urban Conservation Feedback – WESSA and FOZR on 4th August

06 Aug 2018 Posted by in News and Events | 3 comments

What an amazing turnout and vibe on Saturday, 4th August and it started at 07.00 already…..

As the FOZR committee members arrived they were met with an amazing winters morning and started carrying in all the goodies needed to make the day work for all. The saying “many hands makes light work” proved to be so apt in this situation and soon the Tearoom was buzzing with preparations under the watchful eye of Colleen who knew exactly how she wanted things to run in that area!

The WESSA co-ordinater, Mea, arrived shortly and very effectively setup all her things that made the place look as presentable as possible with registration and demonstration tables all ready. Yep, it was obvious that she had ‘done this before’ based on her calmness in getting things done. Well done Mea and her assistants.

The day began at dawn when a rainbow overarched the first forty guests who braved the chilly air to enjoy guided bird walks at the Reserve. The thrill of seeing evidence of hippo that had passed during the night added to the experience.

Great to see that birdwatching grabbed the interest of the young and the young at heart … the atmosphere was exciting and people just grouped together to listen to the experts share their local knowkedge.

Westlake-based CTEET (Cape Town Environment Education Trust) was well represented at this Big Friends Group Event, attended by over 75 people, and the topic was Urban Conservation. Their talks exemplified the aims of CTEET whose mission is, “Supporting the preservation of Cape Town’s unique and biodiverse natural heritage through education, training and conservation initiatives.”

CEO Anthony Roberts, gave an inspiring overview of environmental training, leadership and job opportunities offered by CTEET to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

South Peninsula Biodiversity Manager for City, Dalton Gibbs, founder member of CTEET in 2001, spoke of the urgency of retaining green areas, the possibilities, and many success stories. Further, with more than two decades in this field, he conveyed the history of diminishment of our unique fynbos spaces over the past one-hundred-and-fifty years.

Petro Botha, of CTEET and Manager of the Gantouw Eland project that uses eland as a veld management tool, explained her unique, award-winning and successful trial. In less than two years a herd of five eland have reduced the overgrown vegetation at Rondevlei, creating paths and spaces for an increase in small mammals, rodents, and nine species of plant not seen at Rondevlei for many years. In time the herd will be transported to other reserves to work their wonders there. For this, Petro has trained the animals to go confidently into the necessary vehicles. In addition, the aim of CTEET is in evidence here as assistants in this project have enjoyed life-changing experiences under the guidance of Petro and working with the animals.

Bio-engineering with a difference–that is what intriguing and independent Bernelle Verster of Lakeside put across. She can be found by googling indiebio. Bright, powerful, inventive and thinking quite out the box, Bernelle provided examples of how we as individuals can work within the constraints of urban life to mitigate much of the erosion that urbanisation has imposed on Nature. Bernelle walks the talk, living in a home designed to leave the smallest possible footprint on the planet, and is ready to spread her advice and knowledge, always able to see the good side of difficulties. Even the water issue in Cape Town has its up-side. “Peeing in the garden does wonders for your plants,” she enthused.

The auditorium was filled to capacity and the speakers delivered beyond expectations again …

Networking among the Friends Groups was an important part of the event at the lavish vegetarian lunch.

Special mention must be made to the Chef’s – Colleen McDowell, Angie Cranswick, and Maryatta Wegerif for their fantastic catering !


Colleen very happy that all guests were satisfied!

Based on feedback, we can safely say that this event, hosted jointly by WESSA and FOZR, was a huge success and the support was overwhelming …… Appreciate the support from Mea and ……

A special thanks to our photographer and all other pictures can be viewed by clicking on

Thank you to the entire FoZR Committee for the great teamwork, energy and effort !

recycling is great for otters


  1. Richard Cammell08-06-18

    How wonderful, sounds like I really missed out on quite an event, well done FoZR you are an inspiration.

  2. Dalton Gibbs08-06-18

    A fantastically well organised event – thank you to the FOZR team.

  3. Cate08-07-18

    It was an honour to be a part of the host team. Thanks for all that everyone did.

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