News and Events

News and Events

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We have actively been protecting, sustaining, managing social and environment issues on the West Coast for the past 10 Years, funding is under pressure and your membership assists in us, helping others.

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Biodiversity Education on the move

The CWCBR is always on the lookout for partnerships that could potentially result in the promotion of conservation but also create work opportunities for the unemployed.

When we heard that LandCare was looking for a service provider to help implement their biodiversity awareness mandate, we jumped at the opportunity and within less than a week set up a programme and ran a trial for the implementation of the CWCBR’s own Biodiversity Educator. The type of person required for this position needed to have a comprehensive background and relevant experience in invasive alien vegetation control, know of mechanisms with which the average person could contribute towards saving water, reducing soil erosion and educate on the importance of biodiversity and indigenous vegetation, in our case Fynbos. Only one name came to mind, Eddie Papier.

Oom Eddie grew up in Langebaan and is a true West Coaster by heart. Working on large container ships during his youth, he travelled the world and experienced many different cultures. He eventually stepped back onto land and became a field ranger for the West Coast National Park where he oversaw biodiversity research, alien clearing, conservation student mentorship and gained a great deal of experience in his 23 years of service. After his retirement, oom Eddie couldn’t sit still and got involved in the CWCBR’s trails project as a guide and mentor and when approached with the idea of becoming our very own Biodiversity Educator, he couldn’t say no.

In his first week, oom Eddie made six trips visiting our teams of biodiversity workers from Saldanha in the north to Chatsworth in the south, in total addressing over 100 people.

LandCare was duly impressed as well as some of the other land owners he visited requesting his services on a private basis outside the contracted dates set by LandCare which will hopefully extend his service for at least another year. During this time, oom Eddie can educate our field workers in the finer details of conservation creating a passion for the environment.

We wish him all the best with the challenges that lie ahead and hope to have a long and prosperous relationship with him and LandCare.



The Year That Was…

It has been a long year here at the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve. We have accomplished so much in what seems like such a short space of time. While we have had many projects on the go, too many to mention in their entirety, we'd like to share some of the highlights with you.


The 100 Jobs Project

The 100 Jobs Project is an ongoing partnership between the CWCBR, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) and Afrisam, which started in August 2012 and is set to run until February this year. The IDT committed to pay for wages for 100 community members, and Afrisam took on the responsibility of paying for the cost of operations such as transport costs, equipment costs, protective clothing, etc. It was then up to the CWCBR to implement the project.

We recruited 10 teams, made up of community members from the towns of Atlantis, Mamre, Pella, Riverlands, Chatsworth, Saldanha Bay, Vredenburg, Paternoster, Langebaan, and Jakobsbaai. We then undertook to put these fantastic folk to work, doing tasks such as alien clearing, river clearing, and street cleaning, the latter in partnership with local municipalities. To this end, Swartland Municipality undertook to purchase equipment on our behalf to the value of R24,000. The Saldanha Bay municipality, on their part, undertook to provide refuse bags, brooms, etc to help us in our task. Our teams have also become involved in landscaping, with the aim of beautifying the entrances to the community towns from where our workers originate. By doing this, we hope to instil a sense of pride within those communities.

We have recently had great news regarding the 100 Jobs Project. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has agreed to come on board and partner with us in this endeavour. They have provided additional funding to the value of R2.1 million. This has given the project a further 12 month lease on life, and made it possible for us to increase the number of people employed to over 100 as set out initially.


The Landcare Camps

We here at the CWCBR believe that it is of utmost importance to educate children from previously disadvantaged communities, and instil in them values of leadership and pride in their heritage.

To this end, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, we oversaw the running of two Landcare Camps in 2012.

Over a period of three days and two nights, we accommodated 30 young people(two camps with 60 children in total) and did a range of modules with them,including how to do a vegetable garden in your backyard (urban farming), water and soil management, leadership skills and games, alien identification, clearing and disposal, and biodiversity awareness i.e. identifying medicinal plants, etc.

A great time was had by all.

 


The New Year

2013 is going to be a year in which we, along with our generous donors and partners, will be building on the work we have done tirelessly in 2012, according to our mandate. In addition, it will be a year of exciting new initiatives.

Here is a sample of things in the pipeline:

Partnering with Eskom

Our national energy supplier, Eskom, has indicated that they would like to meet with regional- and local- tourism organisations on the Cape West Coast, and their partners i.e. B&B's, etc. this year, and have requested that the CWCBR facilitate this. Eskom will give a presentation to these tourism stakeholders on how to engage with the Eskom grants, gain access to financing, and engage in retrofitting their establishments with renewable, environmentally friendly energy supply and appliances.

Once Eskom have given their presentation, the CWCBR will submit an application on behalf of all interested parties en masse. If approved, Eskom have committed to subsidise this endeavour 100% over 3 years, with 70% reimbursement in year one, 20% in year two, and 10% in year three. We are excited at this prospect, as it will be a way for us to aid our partners in the tourism industry to get funding through Eskom, increasing their profitability and promoting our ethos of sustainability at the same time.


The Small Grants Project

The Small Grants Project (SGP) is funded by the Table Mountain Fund to the value of R400 000 plus. It is a three-year contract that allows us to facilitate at least 12 Small Grants Projects per year, whereby NGOs can submit applications to us for funding.

Details regarding amounts will follow forthwith, and this would be done in accordance with our principle of community cooperation within the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve.

 


The Sanbi Jobs Fund

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve has accessed funds through the Sanbi Jobs Fund, to employ thirteen individuals starting from 1 April this year through to 21 October 2015. Ten will be graduates and three will be fresh out of matric.

These positions are critical in continuing the excellent standard of projects that we have been managing to date, and will most importantly keep our Trails and Tourism project teams employed for another 2½ years!

Advertisements will be circulated on 14 January 2013 for the following posts:

  • Eco-Trails Manager/Guide
  • Eco-Trails Booking Administrator
  • Eco-Trails Marketing Assistant/Guide
  • General Eco-Trails Assistant/Guide
  • One Social Media Co-ordinator
  • One Biodiversity & Conservation Officer
  • One Tourism Development Manager
  • One Biodiversity & Conservation Manager
  • One HR & Finance Manager
  • One Office Administrator
  • 3 Environmental Steward/Trainee Guides

A special thank you…

Here at the CWCBR, we rely heavily on the generosity and foresight of our financial partners and donors. As mentioned in the aforementioned summaries, we are fortunate to have a number of such, and we value them all. However, at this time, we feel we want to extend a special token of gratitude toward a few who've made significant impact on our ability to serve the West Coast and its communities.

First and foremost, we'd like to acknowledge Afrisam, without whom it would not have been possible to facilitate our 100 Jobs Project. Their commitment to our day-to-day logistical issues has truly been the difference between success and failure. For this, we would like to take this opportunity to hold them up as a shining example of corporate benevolence. To Mr Tsholo Diale, to Jabu, as well as everyone on the Afrisam CSR team, we here at the CWCBR thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We'd also like to voice our gratitude to Saldanha Bay Tourism, the Swartland Municipality, and the West Coast Municipality for funding our R27 Information Hub. Through this facility we are able to impact tourists by providing them with information as they pass through this gateway from Cape Town. This would not have been possible without their continued financial support.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Saying goodbye…

Rhett Smart has been with us here at the CWCBR for 5 years as our Conservation Manager.
Sadly, he has left us recently. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his hard work, and wish him well in his new position at Cape Nature.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Jacques van der Merwe who has joined us as of this month as our new Conservation Manager. Jacques previously served as Conservation Manager for Cloof Wine Estate outside Darling from where he got involved with the Darling Wildflower Society and ran the local Fire Protection Association


Leading the way…

There are currently 610 UNESCO sanctioned Biospheres in 117 countries around the world. In many ways, the CWCBR is a model of what is possible in this program. We have six Biosphere Reserves in South Africa currently, and we have been hard at work to raise their profiles in order to gain access to governmental funding through the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

Recently, Gauteng province put in a request to UNESCO for a seventh Biosphere Reserve, namely the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve. It will be unique in that it will span two provinces, namely Gauteng and Limpopo. On Thursday and Friday, 13 - 14 December last year, we hosted a high-level delegation, including the head of department, from Gauteng Province, who are coming down to the West Coast on a fact-finding mission to establish how a Biosphere Reserve operates, and what the benefits of a Biosphere Reserve are, in order to buy-in to the model and provide funding where appropriate to their province. On our part, we gave them a tour, and introduced them to our teams who were best be able to give them an idea of what we do as a Biosphere Reserve.

As a provincial government Minister recently told us: "The tall poppy gets the most fertilizer." We have heeded those words, and are excited to see developments such as this; an affirmation to all that we do, and just another motivation to reach for the stars.


2012


CWCBR Trails Launch

Expecting to generate direct local spend of R21-million and create fifteen full-time jobs over five years, the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve launched its five new visitor-ready, responsible tourism trails at the historic Kersefontein Guest Farm near Hopefield.The anticipated income represents a return of R18 for every R1 invested by the Development Bank of South Africa and National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. A textbook case study of balancing development and conservation to preserve the area's rich heritage, the more than 200km of hiking, cycling and canoe trails all have Environmental Management Plans, while the hiking trails are Green Flag accredited. The trails will be marketed and operated in line with responsible tourism principles. Delivering the keynote address at the launch, Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said: 2

"The Western Cape Government is a signatory to the South African National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism and we are fully aligned to the national strategy that encourages responsible tourism principles. A number of responsible tourism initiatives are currently being run in the Western Cape, including the City of Cape Town's Responsible Tourism pilot project. It is important that all tourism operators in the province ensure that they operate responsibly. I commend the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve for this initiative that will not only augment the local economy and create job opportunities, but also ensure that they do so responsibly."

Addressing a current gap in the market for shorter trails, the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve's three hiking trails, cycling trail and canoe trail are designed to be two-and-a-half-day 'power breaks', without the schlep. All trails are guided, catered, comfortable and safe. Hikers carry only a small day pack, while lifts and luggage are organised and local folk prepare meals in traditional West Coast style.

Visit the Trails website & book your Trail today!


Afrisam - Cementing a Natural Partnership

AfriSam have set aside an area 522.25 ha in size for conservation. It has awarded the highest level of stewardship: Contract Nature Reserve status.

A unique arrangement, as this land was originally purchased with an intent to mine. AfriSam has provided bursaries for students to study a Diploma in Natural Resource Management at the South African Wildlife College (SAWC) and have since employed these students through the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve as Conservation Officers.

Activities thus far have included: fixed point photography monitoring; daily monitoring and patrolling of the site; clearing of a historical waste dump on site; and initiation of an Eco-Club consisting of learners from the surrounding schools and communities.





Major Outcomes

  • The arrangement is unique in that it is an example of a major industrial/mining company investing CSR capital into a conservation project on land that they own that was originally purchased with the intention to mine
  • The site is also the first industrial/mining site to enter into a stewardship agreement, and additionally the highest level of protection: Contract Nature Reserve
  • The project also aligns with ideals of empowerment of the local community, by educating, enabling and employing members of the local community.

Read More


Employment Program

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve recently embarked on an employment program to benefit the communities within the Biosphere, namely Saldanha, Vredenburg, Langebaan and surrounding areas. Unfortunately these areas suffer from high unemployment rates and debilitating poverty. The CWCBR aims to eradicate these problems with solutions that coincide with the broader goals for the conservation of the Biosphere.

One hundred employment contracts for Conservational Labourers were created and filled by the CWCBR within a week. They were assigned to clear alien vegetation in order to create and maintain a single lane bike track, control erosion, construct wooden sty's over fences, plant trees and shrubs at the entrances to towns and communities, clean up the coastal areas and to support the CWCBR Trails service delivery by assisting the guides, caterers, cleaners and promoters.

In general, baseline day to day activities include cleaning, greening and beautifying of the disadvantaged sectors of these communities. The employment program will initially run over a course of 7-8 months, benefiting workers not only financially, but also by instilling a sense of pride in themselves and their communities.

Find out about our other projects


Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve Ethos

As a member of the CWCBR, I inspire to the values underwritten by the CWCBR and more importantly UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) initiative. This means that the written mission of the 'MAB' initiative to bring man, environment and economic activity into balance (sustainability) is my inspirational framework.

I/My commercial entity would like to be a responsible citizen and pledge to that effect not to engage in, be the catalyst for and allow any abusive relationship that negatively influences man, our environment or our socio-economic interaction.

I will engage in activities, be they social, commercial or recreational, in such a manner that is responsible to community, environment and the CWCBR.

Click here to become a member!

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