The Baviaanskloof Nature Awareness Group reunited at Rietrivier (Makkedaat) between 22-25 October in what turned out to be a fun and energizing get-together.
Being the first meeting since 2011, the intent of the gathering was to provide a setting for participants to reconnect with each other, their personal passions as well as the shared vision and purpose of the group.
With the support of experienced wilderness guides Bruce Dell, Ian Read and knowledgeable land-owner Boetie Terblanche, the group went on a number of short walks, discussing, questioning and sharing stories and insights about the various things encountered out in nature as well as the role of a field guide in interpreting such experiences.
At the request of the participants, the final afternoon was spent walking in the field sharing knowledge and stories about the medicinal uses and local knowledge of the various plants found in the Baviaanskloof.
“It was a great afternoon” said one of the organizers. “As a field studies educator, one of the things you always aim for is for students’ curiosity to be activated to the point where you no longer need to motivate or intervene. And that’s how it was with this group: from the outset they just took to the field with their books and experiences while we looked on and appreciated the enthusiasm they had in sharing their questions and knowledge with each other.”
Finally, in what became known as “The Wildest Dreams” session, the group gathered in the majestic cave setting of the Aalwynbak and listened intently into the evening as members shared their wildest dreams for their future (e.g. as specialist field guides) and that of the BNA Group (e.g. as a vehicle for educating fellow community). There was a renewed belief and resurgence that not only could this vision be achieved but that it must be achieved …and that now is the right time for it to flourish.
The BNA Group is a collective of young adults from the Baviaanskloof Hartland who are passionate about the Baviaanskloof environment and are committed to sharing their knowledge, care and concern for nature with others. Read about past events here »
Sincere thanks: The event was made possible through remaining funding from an earlier Table Mountain Fund micro-grant, support from Kenchaan Foundation, Living Lands and the time volunteered by the persons involved. A special thanks to B & H Terblanche whose kind and generous hospitality enriched the experience and made our stay possible. Lastly, we are grateful to elders past and present who have passed their local traditional knowledge onto members of the group.
Yes! We would be highly grateful for a range of assistance to help keep our momentum going.
Possible avenues of support include:
• field guide books (new or secondhand) or iPad/tablet on which field guide apps (e.g. Roberts Birds, eTrees) could be used.
• any resources on medicinal plants from the Fynbos, Albany Thicket and Succulent Karoo biomes
• contact details of experienced field guides, bush doctors or community elders (from the greater Baviaanskloof region) who may be willing to volunteer their time in sharing local (ecological or biocultural) knowledge with enthusiastic listeners
• field guide training (preferably with recognized certification, e.g. FGASA)
• camping/hiking equipment (e.g. sleeping bags, sleeping mats, cooking gear, hiking boots…)
• monetary donations
… and a vehicle! (e.g. a small 2×4 bakkie/utility or a gravel-road friendly people-carrier, e.g. Toyota Venture/Condor/Kamel…well, it’s worth a try!) :-)