Once again, the Annual HO Get-Together was held at the Four-Wheel Drive Club of SA’s Base 4, north of Joburg.
Honorary Chairman, Jannie Venter, began the formal section of the day by welcoming everyone and providing an update, including details on the current situation at Borakalalo.
This was then followed by our three keynote speakers, each of whom have vast experience in their fields of expertise, and who focused their presentations on the theme of the Get-Together:
Innovation in Conservation
Pieter Nel, Ecologist of the North West Parks Board, entitled his talk “Applying Innovation in Conservation”, elaborating on some of the hardware and software innovation being used to track animal movements – important tools to help understand conservation trends
Ray Schaller, Conservation Planner: NW Dept of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) did a talk on “The North West Biodiversity Plan 2015” which he led. He showed, via a series of maps, how the plotting of data being collected on species’ movements was assisting conservation in new ground-breaking ways.
Prof Bob Scholes, Systems Ecology, Wits University, spoke on “Scientific/Theoretical Innovations”. He discussed the inexorable growth of humankind and the “Balance of Nature” – how conservationists are now starting to focus on ecosystem levels rather than species level.
He also broke the news that the International Commission on Stratigraphy had accepted the proposal by the Working Group on the Anthropocene (WGA), that a new geological epoch, The Anthropocene, had begun.
Editor’s note: If you want to read more on this topic have a look a these sites
A common theme from all the speakers was the explosion of “Citizen Science” which is defined as Scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or non-professional scientists.
It is certainly an area that all HO’s can get involved in.
Editor’s note: Viv Thomé (Honorary Secretary) has sent out an email with details on various sites that can be accessed. If you would like any further information, please contact her on email@example.com.
Robert Gaolaolwe, Acting Park Manager, Pilanesberg National Park, then provided an update from the NW Parks Board, in which he thanked all HO’s for their continued effort and support, which he said is most important for the successful running of the parks. He also mentioned that the status on the appointment of new HO’s is unfortunately still unresolved.
The formal section of the day was then concluded with a Q&A session.
The VIP’s (In order of appearance)
Jannie Venter, Pieter Nel, Ray Schaller, Bob Scholes, Robert Gaolaolwe
Two phobias that most HOs seem to suffer from are:
Bibliomania – an obsessive–compulsive disorder which involves the collecting of, or even hoarding of books, to the point where social relations can be damaged.
Braaiomania – an obsessive–compulsive disorder which involves standing around a fire in order to burn meat, to the point where social relations can be built and strengthened.
Luckily for us the committee understands these issues and both were admirably catered for:
The first by Bryan Peirce of Adventures With Nature who provided a fantastic collection of books for us to purchase at prices below retail – see his website: http://www.awn.co.za/ ;
The second by the provision of all the essentials required in order to satisfy this need.
On behalf of all HOs, their partners and guests, we would like to thank:
Karl Hoffman, Club Secretary of the Four-Wheel Drive Club of SA and the Base 4 staff for providing the excellent venue and service;
The Speakers, Pieter Nel, Ray Schaller and Bob Scholes, for the unreserved sharing of their knowledge and expertise;
The Committee, in particular Viv, for the hard work in organising and arranging this special day; and
Robert for attending on behalf of the NW Parks.