Nature Connect recently received funding from the Cape Bird Club in order to advance conservation in the City.

As a global community, the value of partnerships, and the impracticality for anyone to operate in isolation, is becoming increasingly apparent.

Organisations such as Nature Connect facilitate the establishment of partnerships to secure win-win solutions that benefit people and nature.

Let us begin with Problem #1:

In this story, we have alien invasive plant encroachment within a local nature reserve (a recurring, and all too common theme for conservators world-wide).

Alien invasive plants have many negative impacts on ecosystems. Well known, is the loss of species diversity. Less well understood, are the impacts of alien invasive plants on bird populations. It is clear however, that changing the structure and composition of any vegetation will reduce the original sources of food, cover and nesting sites for birds.

Defining Problem #2:

The Cape Bird Club secured funding to assist with ecological restoration, but, as a volunteer organisation, they have limited institutional capacity to manage the roll out of a project on the ground.

  1. SOLUTION through PARTNERSHIP to work together:

Nature Connect have a partnership agreement with the City of Cape Town, such that Nature Connect staff are able to work alongside City staff, combining forces to secure biodiversity within Cape Town.

  1. SOLUTION through PARTNERSHIP to channel funding:

Nature Connect are able to partner with the Cape Bird Club – managing and directing funding towards biodiversity conservation.

  1. SOLUTION through PARTNERSHIP to employ:

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), funded through national government, rolls out environmental projects in Cape Town through the City’s Biodiversity Management Branch, and provides temporary employment for 6-12 months, allowing the participants to acquire limited work experience and skills development. On completion of a recent placement, four EPWP workers from False Bay Nature Reserve performed well and efforts were made to secure further employment opportunity for them.

Through engagement with the City, Nature Connect have been able to on-board these four individuals in a short-term (three month) employment arrangement utilising the Cape Bird Club funds.

  1. SOLUTION through CONNECTION

These partnerships align both the human and financial resources, since this local team can work towards ecological restoration in their own back yard. Further, the money raised by bird-lovers can be utilised to assist in ecological restoration work in the Strandfontein Birding Area.

The Strandfontein Birding Area is described as a premier birding spot close to the City, with a bird list in excess of 200 species. It is also a Ramsar site, meaning that the area has been identified as having international importance under the Ramsar Convention (also known as the Convention of Wetlands), to which South Africa is a signatory. The team is supported and guided on the ground by the False Bay Nature Reserve Supervisor. Administrative and human resources oversight is provided by Nature Connect.

Everyone wants a happy ending, but we have Problem #3: Sustained financing for conservation

Sadly, in just a few weeks’ time, this story will come to an end. These four wonderful people will have to terminate their efforts in the reserve. They will no longer be able to apply their ecological restoration skills in their ‘hood. Nor continue to learn more about the nature on the doorstep.

Additional funding is necessary to sustain their activities. Please contact Louise Matschke at louisem@natureconnect.earth should you be interested in providing ongoing financial support to sustain the excellent work presently being undertaken in the Strandfontein Birding Area. Unlike the money, the work that needs to be done is not going to run out anytime soon.

  1. SOLUTION through FINANCIAL INVESTMENT

Sustainable financing for landscape conservation is a growing body of research, which has been ignored for far too long, and at our peril. All the people of Cape Town, and indeed the world, stand to lose from our lack of investment in people and nature.

  1. SOLUTION through KNOWLEDGE

Cape Town sits in the hottest hotspot of species diversity, with fynbos making up the smallest of the six floral kingdoms on earth. We need to know enough, and we need to care enough, to take action. The Nature Connect Sustainable Schools picks up this anthem, before – we hope – it is too late.

Figure 1: False Bay Nature Reserve. Source: https://resource.capetown.gov.za/

What the Bird Club EPWP’s have been up to the last few months:

Litter clean up at Zeekoevlei section:

Clearing and maintenance of the breeding banks at Strandfontein section:

The team grass cutting at the picnic areas:

The clearing water hyacinth over the past two months:

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