Winterskloof Conservancy have embarked on a new adventure – the Green Bobbies began their work on 6 March. Since the Conservancy was formed, they have worked with the Red Bobbies (security) and have planned to add an official green component. The Green Bobbies will to check for snares, report injured animals, deal with invasive plants and be additional eyes and ears in the area too. Last year, Sipho Mhlalanyawo (Everton Conservancy Trainer) conducted training workshops about clearing invasive vegetation and this has been a focus of activity in Winterskloof.
Three men, Siphiwe Mofokeng (Green Bobbies’ Supervisor), Sihle Nxumalo and Tom Mncwabe have been employed. They had their first training session yesterday, with Sipho Mhlalanyawo.
Winterskloof will commence the initiative in phases:
• Learning how to identify and eradicate invasive alien plants, under the wise tutelage of Sipho Mhlalanyawo, from Everton Conservancy
• Working with the Red Bobbies to find out how to spot suspicious people and incidents
• Getting the skills from eKZN Wildlife to spot and remove snares, from our resident District Control Officer – Daryn Hiltunen
• Working in Willow Lane, under the voluntary management of the residents to hone their new skills
• Working 2 days/week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
• Hilton SAPS has cleared the team – they have no criminal record
Putting all these skills into practice in other public spaces in our Valley. If we get enough support from members, we can extend the working hours of the team to include more days. This includes some supervision, facilities for equipment, ablutions and transporting Sipho from Crossways (Old Main Brewery) for his training days.
• Train a new team (and another and another…) to do more work in the infested areas of our Valley with the aim to have alien free corridors for fauna and flora to be able to thrive
• For a fee, be available to work in private gardens to assist members with their invasive plants. The fee will cover the cost of the work and a donation to the Conservancy, to help us do so much more.
This month, the Conservancy will fund the wages of the team, but from the 2nd April, Wildlands Conservation Trust has offered to include them in their job creation project for the KZN Premier’s initiative to grow green jobs in the province. This is a wonderful opportunity, as it means we can train more people to do more and link with World’s View Conservancy to get their programme up and running too.
Protective Clothing & Equipment:
The Dept. Environmental Affairs’ kindly equipped our team from their Working for Water stores, for which we are grateful to Ryan Brudvig for all his assistance and advice. This included the First Aid Kit to deal with any minor injuries on the job, such as thorns, cuts and scrapes. Training on how to work safely will help to minimise any incidents to make sure the kit is not needed.
• Sipho will train the team regularly until they are able to work independently, then come up to mentor them to maintain standards and progress
• Mia Baker has offered to provide accommodation for Sipho at her house. The Conservancy will pay his training, subsistence and travel costs.
If you have any queries or would like to volunteer your time or expertise to help with this programme, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Judy Bell and the Winterskloof Conservancy Committee
Phone: +27 (0)33 343 4752
Cell: +27 (0)83 639 1657