So I attended Conversations in Conservation at Fairy Knowe in Wilderness. And I’m so glad I did! It was informative, inspiring and interesting. Some of the highlights for me were:
- Gabriel Scholtz (Working For Water– Invasive clearing and the SANPARKS buffer zone project) gave a very informative and entertaining presentation about alien vegetation in the area, especially putting emphasis on Madeira vine. Check out this Garden Route Madeira project on i-Spot and add your observations: http://www.ispotnature.org/projects/spot-madeira-vine-garden-route and http://www.ispotnature.org/projects/spot-madeira-vine-garden-route/observations/map. And here’s an article on how to tackle Madeira Vine >>
Did you know that you can cook and eat Madeira vine leaves like spinach?
- Jeannine from the Landmark Foundation gave an incredible presentation about the leopards in the area and their importance as predators in a healthy ecosystem.
Another highlight was talking to people involved with the Precious Tree project, which I look forward to getting more involved with!
And of course meeting and chatting to wonderful like-minded people!
Some sparks of inspiration and questions that arose for me during the event:
- Should we have regular movie screenings of eco-related films? We should be educating ourselves, as well as others. And who can say no to a movie and non-gmo popcorn as an occassional outing?
- How can art assist with conservancy projects in the area?
- Let’s make art with invasive plant materials!! Artists need to connect with the organizations and land owners who are clearing land of invasives.
- Ethical brands, conservation programmes, biodiversity-friendly farming… these all form part of a bigger picture where the Eden area can become a global hotspot for conservation, eco education and eco-tourism.
- There’s a huge opportunity to combine art with advocacy, invasive plants clearing, citizen science and tree planting initiatives. Combining creativity with learning and action in a more proactive way than it’s being done at the moment. Collaborative, fun activities that help educate and mobilises people. Using mosaics, painting, thumb prints, collage, land art, mud art, sand art, waste art, Madeira vine artmaking, natural sculpture making, fire art.. You get the picture?
Here’s more of the organisations represented at the event or involved with similar relevant work in the area:
- Southern Cape Land Owners Initiative– Support to land owners with regards to alien invasive management
- Southern Cape Fire Protection Association– Support to land owners with regard to fire management
- WESSA– Wildlife Education Society of South Africa
- Botanical Garden, Garden Route – indigenous plant sales and information
See more of the photos The Landmark Foundation shared on Facebook if you’d like to have a peek: Landmark Foundation Photos
Thank you to the Touws River Conservancy for organizing this event, and to Eden Adventures, South Cape Traders, Uniforms of George and The Fairy Knowe Hotel for sponsoring raffle prizes and the venue.