Showing posts from June, 2018

A Learning Exchange of a life time!

In May 2018, a group of five participants of the K2C Network visited the Rhön Biosphere in Germany. Kgomotso Matthews (CSA), Vusi Tshabalala (K2C BSP EM programme), Sammy Masete (Maruleng Municipality), Wehncke van der Merwe (KNP Buffer Zone Coordinator) and MT Uys (K2C Coordinator) all had a once in a life time experience learning how their German counterparts tackle the challenges of sustainability. The exchange visits (last year we hosted the Rhön Biosphere in the K2C) of this North-South Cooperation had the following objectives: 1.To build an understanding of the Actual Situation in the two BRs; 2.To track the two BRs implementation of the Lima Action Plan; and 3.To identify areas where further learning and collaboration can take place – being a possible catalyst for improvement.
A partnership between Rhön BR and K2C BR was initiated in 2008 with the support of the German Agency responsible for International Development Support (at that time GTZ). A Memorandum of Understanding between …

Enhancing partnerships to conserve and expand the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

Rising from the Mpumalanga Lowveld is the great escarpment. Some of the most iconic landmarks in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region are found along the Mpumalanga Escarpment with Mariepskop, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourkes Luck Potholes, the Three Rondawels and Gods Window, only a few. Due to the dramatic changes in altitude the escarpment areas support high numbers of species found nowhere else but the escarpment is also responsible for providing our most precious resource – water.  An important portion of the escarpment in Mpumalanga is formally protected within the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve (BRCNR), one of South Africa’s most iconic nature reserves. Besides being a place for tourists to visit and experience some of South Africa’s most impressive landscapes these areas are our water catchments where the intact grasslands, wetlands and forests “catch” rainfall and mist that is slowly discharged into the many rivers that the lowveld economies rely on. Water from the catchm…

SANBI National Biodiversity Planning Forum

The 15thAnnual Biodiversity Planning Forum was held in the Eastern Cape this year. About a 150 experts from all over the country attended, including people from government, the private sector and NGOs.  The Forum gives a platform for some of the brightest minds in conservation, biodiversity management various other cross sectoral fields to come together and interact on key topics. One of the key topics this year was Biodiversity and land-use planning and management, looking at how to increase the presence of biodiversity and protected area awareness in development planning. Wehncke van der Merwe represented K2C at the Forum and gave a presentation on how the Kruger National Park is taking an innovative approach towards working closer together with key partners in the landscape, as guided by their new management plan (2018-2018). The approach aims to better entrench Kruger National Park in the landscape, in order to optimise the value it brings not only through conservation, but also …

Alignment of the western boundary conservation areas to KNP and the GLTFCA

On the 19thJune, a meeting was facilitated by Dr Marisa Coetzee and Greg Martindale at the K2C Offices. Marisa is the Senior Manager of Park Planning, KNP and Greg Martindale is the GEF PA Consultant assisting with regularisation and declarations in the nature reserves adjacent to KNP, as part of the GEF PA Programme.  Most of the wardens of the adjacent reserves on the western boundary of KNP attended the meeting, as well as several other well-known role-players in our landscape such as Dr Mike Peel. KNP has recently gone through a lengthy and thorough Management Plan Review Process, which included extensive consultation with its neighbours and stakeholders. The revised Management Plan is now in place for 10 years, with only annual refinements to take place as part of the adaptive management practice. Part of the GEF PA programme, facilitated by the K2C in partnership with SANParks, LEDET and MTPA, aims to assist with either the declaration of new nature reserves (some of which may h…

WWF Sabie Water Stewardship Project – Inception Workshop

The WWF Sabie Water Stewardship Project, funded by WWF Nedbank Green Trust and implemented by SANParks and Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region, held its inception workshop in Mkhulu, Ngonini on the 23rd of April 2018.  The workshop was attended by 85 people in a total of which 74 participants were emerging farmers affiliated with the Khomanani Irrigation Scheme, 9 guests from the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region and SANPARKS.   Dr. Eddie Riddell, project leader and facilitator,  communicated at the workshop that the three year funded project aims to maximise benefits from water stewardship for emerging farmers and conservation areas downstream of the Mpumalanga Drakensberg Strategic Water Source Area through enhancing farming activities in irrigation schemes along the Sabie river immediately adjacent to the Kruger National Park and providing incentives for catchment stewardship through the private sector focusing on the mid-…

GIS Training for Partners!

AWARD Hosted a GIS (Geographic information system) training on the 5thand 6thof June at the AWARD Offices. The training was attended by K2C staff, DAFF, NRM Team and some of the Environmental Monitors. For most of the people who were attending, it was their first time being exposed to GIS. On the first day, we did a theory part in the morning. We learned how to collect Data using an APP called MapIt. The APP is very user friendly and it reduces a lot of paper work and unnecessary mistakes when collecting Data in field. The MapIt APP was then interlinked with Google Earth Pro. This was done so that we can be introduced to Google Earth Pro and how it links with the MapIt APP. After the theory we went out to collect points that were later populated into Google Earth Pro. We also learnt how to create a map using Google Earth Pro. It seemed so difficult at first, but everything became so easy and doable after the practical we did. Anyone can use the APP because it only requires you to have…

Snake identification and awareness training

The SANParks BSP/K2C NRM Teams attended snake identification and awareness in house training at Hoedspruit Kinyoka Reptile Park on the 25 June. The aim of the training was to develop snake identification, better understanding of snake behaviour and basic first aid skills in case of snake bites. The Kinyoka Reptile Park Facilitator Prince Mzingaye Tsuma covered theory and practical session of the training.
Snakes sightings are ranking the second highest incident trend according to NRM Health and Safety report, no snake bite has been reported. The training is part of the corrective action to address the alarming trend. Innocent Mohlala Andover Health and Safety representative said “After the Kinyoka Reptile Park training, I am not scared of snakes like I use to be before, I know how to react when I encounter snakes on site”.

Partnerships in the Landscapes around Kruger National Park strengthens Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Areas in Clusters on the western boundary

On 15 June 2018, a core group of high level strategic partners were invited to an initial high level Strategic partner meeting  to discuss alignment between various GEF related programmes, USAID WWF Khetha, WWF Water Stewardship, CSA programmes and other partner initiatives in support of the wildlife economy, wildlife protection, area integrity, governance and legal support, tangible community beneficiation and socio-economic development, institutional reform of community governance structures and sector forums etc. within the Greater Kruger/GLTFCA footprint.
A more comprehensive common understanding was built on the respective contributions of the different programmes. It became clear that there is a need for more structured collaboration.
The meeting provided strategic guidance in pursue of long-term sustainable outcomes, including the institutionalisation of practices within the landscapes.  A Task Team was formed to take this initiative forward. The Task Team will pull together a…

12th National MAB Meeting

On the 14 & 15thJune 2018 K2C representatives attended the 12thNational MAB Meeting held at the DEA Offices: Environment House, in Pretoria. The National MAB meetings are opportunities for all the South African Biosphere Reserves / Regions to meet and engage with each other and DEA.  Vusi Tshabalala of the K2C presented “Value and benefits of collaborating with DEA and other Programmes in Landscape” showcasing K2C’s work in the landscape. This was well received by several of the other Biospheres, who were impressed with the different projects K2C is implementing and / or supporting in the region. These projects are aligned with the K2C’s own Strategic Objectives, as well as the UNESCO MaB Programme Strategy and the more recent Lima Action Plan.  Cath Vise of the Vhembe Biosphere shared the interesting process they followed with consultants who were developing the “Global UNESCO Story” , in piloting the development of their (Vhembe’s) own story.  One of the main deliverables to co…

Lekgalemeetsi Youth Eco Literacy Camp

The K2C team joined the first Youth eco-literacy camp that was held at Lekgalameetsi Nature reserve, hosted by AWARD on the 16thof June 2018. The camp focuses on introducing youth to basic ornithology, particularly the importance of birdlife as an environmental biomonitoring indicator. This was also a platform to introduce the youth to career opportunities in Biodiversity conservation such as Avitourism.  On the day, Environmental monitors and youth from Lekgalameetsi communities were introduced to basic bird identification (and not taxonomy for now) so that they can get started in terms of developing emerging bird lists for Lekgalameetsi Nature Reserve and also outside areas where environmental monitoring is done. A special support for the day came from Mr Mike Kumako, who is a Birdlife Environmental Monitor. He brought his experience and knowledge which contributed to the reality of a successful career in Avitourism. This camp linked very well with the role of EMS within the context of …

K2C BR’S Contributions noticed at INSAKA

The 2018 INSAKA Conference, funded by SANParks and WWF Kethla, was held at Mopani Rest Camp from 11-14 June 2018. The theme of this year’s Conference was: “Sustaining the eco system service benefit from green and ecological infrastructure”
Insaka is acommunity of practice with the passion, commitment and professional competencies to provide African centred leadership and innovation that influences management of complex social-ecological systems. 
Five universities, linked by an MOU, are the heart of Insaka: University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Namibia, Copperbelt University; University of Montana and Monash South Africa. South African National Parks and the Institute of Natural Resources are active collaborators. 
The Key Note Address of Dr Sharon Pollard of AWARD, inspired the 48 participants with her reflections on the implementation and approaches of the RESILIM-O programme, implemented through a cooperation agreement with USAID. The RESILIM-O program is designed with a systems…

Biodiversity Day celebrations with AWARD and LEDET in Lekgalameetsi

On the 31stof May 2018 LEDET with support from AWARD and K2C hosted a Biodiversity day celebration at Lekgalameetsi Nature Reserve. The theme for this year was Celebrating 25 years of Biodiversity Conservation in action.  The Reserve was packed with various stakeholders such as Mopani District Municipality, Maruleng Local Municipality and the Lekgalameetsi Land Owners Management Committee. The Hosts delivered different presentations as a form of raising awareness on issues that the communities face daily as the live adjacent to Nature Reserves.  The event was a great success because the targeted age group which was youth attended in numbers and they participated throughout the event as different speakers presented. The Aim was for the Youth to take back the knowledge to the community at large regarding Environmental issues. The K2C BR got an opportunity to showcase the first screening of their “Our Sand” Documentary in front of an audience of a hundred people comprising of youth and …

Active Citizenship for the Environment Training

Keneilwe Mmushi, who is charge of all the data submitted by the Environmental Monitor Programme, implemented through collaboration with the National Department of Environmental Affairs and SANParks, on Environmental Issues and Environmental Education Activities recently attended the African Climate Reality Project Workshop in Polokwane. Twenty-five Social and Environmental Organisations, comprising of Activists and Media personnel, took part in the workshop. The theme of the workshop was ‘’Engaging the Legislature to improve Environmental Governance’’. The main objectives of the workshop were to equip active citizens with SMART strategies of holding the Government accountable, ensuring effective Governance as well as scrutinizing the new Climate Change Bill and engaging in public participation processes. The Workshop covered a wide range of topics; including public participation in the legislature looking into factors that make public participation meaningful, effective and inclusive…