Saturday February 24, 2018

Chairman's Report 2015

Marlothii Conservancy
Chairman’s Report for 2014/2015
Although the period under review saw many exciting changes and events in the Marlothii Conservancy, it was sadly also the time to say a final farewell to John Martin who was Chairman for most of the year. John’s enthusiasm and legacy will live on in the Conservancy.
The year started off with a very capable and enthusiastic committee that continued to produce excellent results throughout the year. At the outset, a new identity was desired and this came about in commissioning an eye catching banner depicting the harmony between sky and water, fundamental to the existence of all life forms. A letterhead, following the same theme, was also introduced.
In line with its new identity, a presentable and workable web site was needed and Andrew Hudson and Diana van Rensburg willingly undertook this daunting task. Thank you Andrew and Di.
Membership is of course of the utmost importance and here committee member, Dot Knorr excelled in getting a number of new members to sign up, updating the membership records and collecting outstanding membership fees. The Conservancy is extremely grateful for her dedication and perseverance.
The Conservancy is of the opinion that environmental education is the corner stone in righting the wrongs in the environment, hence the many educational projects that it embarked on and presented.
Birding was one of John Martin’s passions and he spent a great deal of time and effort in pursuing it. John hosted a well supported bird walk at Henk van Rooyen Park. Unfortunately his health did not allow him to continue throughout the year and Keith Knorr kindly stepped in as host. Keith was later joined by Errol Potgieter in a combined bird/nature walk. A very successful bird ringing operation was arranged and attended by numerous bird lovers who were very excited at being able to actively participate in this operation. John was instrumental in getting Marloth Park listed with BIRP (Birds in Reserves Project) of the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town and Diana van Rensburg submitted the weekly bird lists to BIRP. Later in the year, the Conservancy hosted Peter Greaves, international birding expert from the University of Cape Town, who described in detail how the system works and gave a very informative talk on birds of the Arctic Circle.
The Conservancy hosted a talk on the place of carnivores in nature by Gus Mills, an expert in this field and author of a number of books. The evening was a great success with a record number of people attending and was rounded off by a very sociable dinner.
Keith Knorr presented four very successful and well attended courses on trees and tree identification, grasses, insects and geology. The course material was of a very high standard and extremely well researched and obviously took a tremendous amount of effort and time. A sterling effort – thank you Keith.
In line with its educational policy and commitment to improve the environment in Marloth Park, the Conservancy also embarked on a service to property owners to give them the correct advice on alien vegetation on their properties and how to deal with eradication. Dev Farquharson a very experienced conservancy member from Natal, Stuart Long and Errol Potgieter willingly undertook to supply this service, one that we are sure will be greatly appreciated by environmentally minded property owners.
The Conservancy was instrumental in establishing Gruispan and is deeply involved in maintaining this site just off Olifants Road. This site was originally a borrow pit used by road builders who left an unsightly pit with no attempt at rehabilitation. Stuart Long and Errol Potgieter took on the task of ensuring that water is pumped into the pan on a regular basis and that the site is properly maintained. The Conservancy thanks the many willing helpers who assisted with alien eradication, technical and physical expertise and donations.
Despite John’s deterioration in health and coping with bereavement, Jan Martin still managed to produce monthly financial statements and the Conservancy thanks Jan most sincerely for her
unselfish dedication.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the Conservancy has gone forward by leaps and bounds and we thank all who worked hard to achieve this satisfactory state of affairs as well as our loyal
supporters and generous donors.

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