A warm Midlands winter afternoon is just perfect for a stroll in the grassland. This is exactly what the group gathered at Mulberry Hill for the quarterly MCF Roadshow did during the week. After recent heavy frosts, there were hardly any leaves on anything. A few green sprouts in the firebreaks for Oribi to nibble on, and the first tiny Ledebouria coming up.
At the top of the hill we enjoyed fantastic views in all directions - Inhlosane, Karkloof and Midmar.
We then headed back for a sumptuous spread of nibbles (all locally sourced) with coffee supplied by Terbedore.
Kevan Zunckel was our guest speaker and had everyone captivated. He explained his project in conjunction with SANBI - the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership. The basic idea is that down stream users pay for keeping the water catchments in great condition. This concept has worked extremely well for New York and there should be no reason that it shouldn't work in KZN too.
Kevan suggested that we should view natural infrastructure differently. Not focus on trying to save the habitat of a specific species, but rather package the argument from the perspective of the water services they provide. For example show the importance of saving the grasslands, which are essential for the water storage services they provide. By default, the persistence of vulnerable species will indicate the health of the eco-system. Although much of our natural capital is irreversibly destroyed, Kevan expressed his amazement at how well Nature in a degraded state can recover if allowed to do so.
Judy Bell gave a report back on all the action which has taken place in just a short time since the MCF AGM. Work on securing funding for a Development Monitor, the nomination of Penz Malinga for the KZN Youth Achievers Awards, The planning for the Lion's River Walk in September and all the schools field trips organised in conjunction with MMAEP and KZNCF.
Gareth Boothway gave a short update on the MCF Biodiversity Stewardship sites and Conservancy management plans that he has been working on. Then everyone relaxed with another cup of coffee and caught up on what was happening in other Conservancies. What a jolly pleasant afternoon.
News and photographs kindly supplied by Nikki Brighton