2018 WESSA Annual Review

WESSA is a membership-based organisation. Our members initiate a wide range of environmental projects and organise educational events and activities in their local commu- nities. They are part of a regional network of branches, Friends Groups and other affiliated groups, and are guided by certain focus areas determined by local environmental issues, history, institutional knowledge and capabilities.

The following projects and initiatives illustrate the inspiring work being undertaken by our ac- tive members and supporters in their respective regions: The Nyoka Ridge Vulture Restaurant is one of several conservation projects undertaken by the Northern region. Here, visitors can view the en- dangered Cape Vulture in its natural mountain habitat and at close quarters, when the state-of- the-art hide is completed. Other projects in the Magaliesberg include regular snare removals, bio control of the invader species Queen of the Night, and Blue Crane protection. Northern Area Region’s ARMOUR project is working to build a new river ethos in Gauteng. In addition to its re- gional projects, NAR is home to three branches and 35 WESSA affiliated Friends Groups which do invaluable work protecting and maintaining green spaces. The Lowveld Region has worked tirelessly for many years towards raising funds for anti-poach- ing of rhinos and is now sponsoring tracker dogs and their handlers in Ezemvelo reserves. Cur- rently, they are in the planning stage of estab- lishing a Project Rhino K9 Unit outside Hluhluwe Village. Branches in the KwaZulu-Natal Region play an im- portant role in the networking of the 85 conser- vancies in the region. The region’s main projects and focus areas are: environmental education, support and mentoring of nature conservation students, ecosystem restoration, and environ- mental monitoring and advocacy. Projects in- clude: tree labelling, fundraising for the Zululand K9 Units, and the Umbogavango Environmental

Education Project, and a programme for rural primary school children from the Amanzimtoti area funded by AECI. Under the auspices of Dr Keith Cooper, additional KZN projects include Forest and Grassland Conservation, advocacy for the proposed Pondoland National Park and the monitoring of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road. In the Eastern Cape Region, the Algoa Bay Branch in Port Elizabeth has recently published a book- let called Know Your Bay: A Guide to the Features and Creatures of our Algoa Bay Hot Spot. A high- light in the Grahamstown Branch’s calendar is their annual Wildlife Experience, which includes the prestigious Jack Skead Memorial Lecture as well as outings and events. The region also sup- ports four local Friends Groups who care for sev- eral reserve areas and different habitats in the region. The Western Cape Region is home to 25 Friends Groups and three branches, which are involved in a wide range of activities. These include the restoration of natural spaces, invasive alien plant clearing, litter clean-ups, citizen science, pub- lic participation and advocacy work. In August 2017, the Region organised their first ever Big Friends Group event for Friends Groups to net- work and exchange ideas. At a national level, membership has established an environmental governance committee to re- spond to environmental issues raised by mem- bers. It has also been instrumental in the imple- mentation of the Green Coast project, providing both financial support and helping to roll out the pilot phase of the project. On the youth front, our #GreenMatchmaking initiative aims to train


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