Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Recipe for Youth Success (SSIR)

The Recipe for Youth Success (SSIR): Too often both funders and practitioners fail to focus on the active ingredient in youth development: relationships.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

uMngeni River work | A report on happenings May 2017

uMngeni River work | A report on happenings May 2017


The uMngeni River always brings surprises. It never ceases to amaze me what a busy space it is, ecologically, socially, cultural and recreational. It is such a multi-dimensional space, used by so many different people and animals, and birds of course.

This month the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy had its annual general meeting on 10 May 2017, held at Kruinsig.  We had a good turnout and Nick Evans spoke on the snakes of Durban. The topic is much broader than only the ‘Snakes of Durban’ as of course snakes serve a vital purpose in keeping rats at bay. Snakes are also a food source to other animals and birds.

Jiba and snake

Nick Evans presenting 

On 3 May, we traveled to the WESSA home at uMngeni Valley Nature Reserve. uMngeni Valley was purchased by WESSA members (wildlife and environment Society of South Africa) all contributing small amounts in the 1970s. The meeting I attended was organised by Liz Taylor and facilitated by Mark Ward on the topic ‘Sustaining and Expanding Community Based Water Management Partnership’s’. After the meeting Paolo Candiotti, Nick Swan and I, representing the eThekwini Conservancies Forum drove to the lookout at Umgeni Valley. The photograph shows the amazing view down into the Umgeni Valley. Howick Falls is located at the bottom of the valley. It is a wonderful place to visit if you want to stay over for a weekend. There is accommodation available at Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve.

Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve views

We are frequently asked by UNISA Nature conservation students for assistance in doing their practical work. These assignments complement the theoretical work and as a corresponding student it is essential that this practical work happens. It is difficult for the students to find people to assist them and we often volunteer to see how we can help. These photographs show the DUCT team working on the Umgeni River in the Springfield area doing invasive alien plants clearing. Hebert Chamane has become a fine teacher and is able to help students in understanding invasive alien plant control, chemical and mechanical application, as well as testing the health of River systems using miniSASS, a tool used by anyone to monitor the health of a river. Sample of small animals or macro invertebrates is collected from the water and used as a measure of the general River health and water quality of the river at that point. How to do miniSASS can be accessed at this website http://www.minisass.org/en/

Dylan Leonard and Hebert Chamane

Mandla of DUCT and Dylan

UNISA students -about to learn miniSASS


Dumping in the area we regard as our Umgeni Estuary Conservancy happens continuously. Access from Riverside road is easy and a car will stop and throw rubbish down the bank into the river and onto the trail. This packaging waste was dumped on the Trail and the photographs were sent to me by Lindelani Zuke.


On the weekend of 13 May with a downpour for several days clearly indicates that climate change is happening. These photographs show the river after the first day of rain. They also show the boom catching waste and litter that comes down storm water drains and accumulates at the boom with the duct teams will then assist in collecting the wastes before it enters the Indian Ocean. Additional photographs were taken by Rosemary Harrison and show the mouth of the river entering the Indian Ocean.
Bart's boom at Connaught Bridge



Another incident in May occurred when a stranded man which rescued from Connaught bridge. I was driving past on the north bank and could not understand why they were so many cars at the informal market area opposite the bird park. It turned out that an unknown man had been trapped on the bridge support for two days. The fishermen had spotted him and reported the matter. He was rescued by paramedics who had to gain access using ropes to rescue the man. He was dehydrated and delirious. It is not known who he was or what has happened to him subsequently. Several newspapers published the strange event, Northglennews, East Coast Radio, Sowetanlive and many more ...


Saturday 20 May at 930 for two hours there is a clean-up happening again. This has become known as clean blue lagoon and the start is usually at the Beachwood Mangroves. The event is posted on Facebook #CleanBlueLagoon and takes place once.



These photographs taken by Bart Fokkens of DUCT show trapped solid pollution being held back by booms. Dale Johnson has started organising these clean blue lagoon events and all support for this short period of two hours is much appreciated.

We are only halfway through the month and so much has happened already. If you have any news or want to report items please feel free to use our Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Facebook page or email me, Margaret Burger,  at umgeni.estuary.conservancy@gmail.com.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

A world class green urban space that has prostitution, litter, waste, pollution, rubbish, crime, and more ... a natural resource for recreation and connecting with the natural environment at no cost with free access to all ...

Look around you, what do you see?


A world class green urban space that has prostitution, litter, waste, pollution, rubbish, crime, and more ... a natural resource for recreation and connecting with the natural environment at no cost with free access to all ...
The uMngeni River and the estuary is my backyard. We have formed a non-profit organisation called uMngeni Estuary Conservancy (UEC). We are part of a greater group of conservancies starting within our own municipal area as the eThekwini Conservancies Forum. The area designated as that of the UEC is a section of north bank of the uMngeni estuary, a zone of approximately 3 km in length but a narrow riparian zone.

The UEC area is complex. It is a designated green open space, unfenced and allows free access to anyone who wishes to use it. The zone also comprises a trail, known as the Fish Eagle Trail. It is an amazingly beautiful space in a busy urban area. The estuary is at the receiving end of solid pollution and environmentalists try desperately to prevent the waste from entering the Indian Ocean.
Yet many citizens are afraid to use the trail and prefer to drive past not even wanting to stop. In some instances, the river frontage would be regarded as prime property.
The area opposite the Bird Park and below the market area has the highest presence of prostitution. The toilets were removed as these were continuously vandalised and filthy.
The main resource is people in the space. People who are attracted to use the space to see the river’s beauty and experience urban nature at its best. I have listed many resources currently present that should be linked to create a vibrant hub of visitors. Physical resources exist but without people presence change cannot take place to attract users who want to connect with the natural space for recreational purposes, and an income stream for others at the same time.

Action:
Reinvigorate current infrastructure, reaffirm value of local role-players and create new projects
Utilise city structures and departments as existing resources
Coordinate and meet with role-players responsible for maintenance of the different zones in the UEC space, as possible. Clarify which department is responsible for what. Create a contact list and send to member and local newspapers.
Put together a project proposal to become a pilot project for verge projects to protect rare plant species. Connect with Lance Rasmussen of Parks, Rob Crankshaw of Conservation KZN. Put project on Conservation KZN website.
Signage - Improve signage and fix derelict signs. Confirm Environmental Planning Climate Change Protection Department offer of signage from the city stating this is a conservation area.

Create greater civic action, connect regularly with UEC members and others locally. Make and share a list of contact numbers for acting against dumping, illegal fishing, littering, dead animal department, local SAPS and Metro Police, religious communities, businesses etc.

Create new socio-economic and revitalise existing ventures within the area that utilise current facilities and focus on eco-tourism revitalisation and environmental education, cycling etc.

At the western section, of the UEC area there is the uMngeni River Bird Park owned and managed by the city as a tourist destination. Opposite the bird park is a ‘market’business area as an open space for informal traders,  but licensed annually. The Bird Park itself has a derelict area which was previously leased as a nursery. On some days, the bird park is quite busy but no one seems to want to cross the road to the river or the market area. The coffee shop is inside the bird park and trades only to visitors within who have paid an entry fee. A more recent addition is a cycle track that ends at the market but continues to the beaches in the east connecting prime areas on a bicycle. The Fish Eagle Trail forms part of what is now known as the Durban Green Corridor an initiative that promotes tourism, trail runs, canoeing and cycling. The estuary is a prime birding area.

Possible projects:
Detangling angling (fishing line dangers)

Tree labelling
Waste management
Supporting UNISA Nature Conservation students in practical assignments
Research
And more ...

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Fun event this Saturday 3 September 2016, at the Green Hub, wheeling, rolling and up-cycling sports equipment

A message from Sonja Pithey - and a great initiative!  Looking for pictures of the Green Hub brought back memories of the beginning days ....

Margaret Burger

"Hi green friends and family

We are co-hosting a fun event this Saturday 3 September 2016, at the Green Hub, wheeling, rolling and up-cycling sports equipment.

We  need a little help spreading the word please…


17 December 2010 at the Green Hub, Briardene children with Rosemary Harrison and Michael Mkhize

and with Tamsanqa!

If our cause resonates with you, please assist by printing  a colour copy of our event poster (attached)  post it around your workplace or any community notice boards in your area, and/or also feel free forward the poster to your network.

There is also a facebook link https://web.facebook.com/events/1247721235252053/   

Thank You in Advance!

Clear your garage and bring those old bats, bikes and boards!
Hope to  see you there in a ‘wheely’ green outfit  : )

Help us to reclaim and reintegrate all our opens spaces and re-use stuff!"

Regards
Sonja Pithey 
More 2010 pictures taken when when Joe, Michael and Tamsanqa were trained as guides... 

More faces from 2010 - we recognise DUCT team members, Sakhile Radebe, Mboniseni, Hebert Chamane, Musa, Mandla!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Urgent clean-up uMngeni Estuary | Tues 10th and Wed 11th May @ 10.00am

Urgent clean-up uMngeni Estuary | Tues 10th and Wed 11th May @ 10.00am

Please note that the Green Hub will be going ahead with the clean up 

DSW will be providing bags and gloves. Thank you for this.

We have decided to have the clean up over 2 days. Tomorrow and Wednesday. Both starting at 10am from the Green Hub, and arranged by the Durban Green Corridor.

The above is a message from Chantal PIllay, Events & Tourism Operations Support

031 8253496









Saturday, 7 November 2015

Umgeni Estuary Conservancy | Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 22 November 2015 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Dear Members, Friends and Family (and friends of friends)…

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 22 November 2015 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Please join us on Sunday  22 November 2015 for our get together in the Beachwood Mangroves.  This is an open invitation so feel free to bring along additional friends to this amazing space in the middle of the city.

We will be there from 11.30 am onward, for the day.  Bring along binoculars, braai stuff, salads to share, chairs and the necessary for a social.


Kind regards
Margaret Burger
tel:  031 573 1054

cell: 083 6305380

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Service of Thanksgiving to God for the Environment | Forests, Seas & Rivers, Animal & Plant Life | 17 October at 8am

An Umhlanga Rocks Community

Service of Thanksgiving to God for the Environment
[Forests, Seas & Rivers, Animal & Plant Life]
17 October at 8am

Hosted by St Michael’s Anglican Church
at the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve

The Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve is situated
at the north eastern end of Lagoon Drive
just behind the Breakers Holiday Resort. 

There will be secure parking in the parking area
designated for the Nature Reserve.

If you are attending please bring a chair, stong walking shoes,
 and remember forests do have thorns

Juice will be served in the car park after the service

For details contact:  St Michael’s Office 031 561 3658
                                                Or  Phoebe Carnegie    031 566 4018


Monday, 21 September 2015

International Coastal Clean Up | uMngeni Estuary Durban | 21 September 2015

International Coastal Clean Up | uMngeni Estuary Durban | 21 September 2015

Each year we participate in cleaning the north bank of the uMngeni estuary on the International Coastal Clean Up Day.  This is our conservancy area, from Connaught in the west to the Beachwood Mangroves.  The Trail below the cycle path was the cleanest we have seen in a long time.  Thanks to all who participated and helped clean up.  Emmanuel Dlomo cleans 5 days a week with funds we receive from recycled paper in the 3 Mpact igloos placed at the Hypermarket by the Sea.  Saturday was cold and rainy but some hardy souls turned up!

From right to left, Reinette van Rooyen with cut finger, Lynne Murray, Veerle Fereday and Denise Tsouris.


Hebert Chamane on a misty morning on the trail


Cordia caffra in flower

A view of the Cordia Caffra and the estuary


Closer view of the Cordia Caffra

Young Pigeon wood, Trema orientalis and Strelitzia nicolai framing the view

Estuarine view from the north bank on Riverside Road

Hebert Chamane locates a fish trap and more close to the storm water outlet

Rain mans the river's ecoli levels increase due to roads and
drains being washed clean after a long dry period.  The petroleum smell was strong
 and  visible on the surface.  This is the Thames Road storm water drain.

View towards the Indian Ocean and Athlone Bridge


View westwards towards Connaught Bridge

Harpephyllum caffrum.  We saw a few specimens being debarked.  

Tree labels still attached!

Thanks Rosemary Harrison and the Scouts who cleaned up opposite the uMngeni River Bird Park

A happy river the next morning!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 19 July 2015 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Dear Members, Friends and Family (and friends of friends)…

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 19 July 2015 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Please join us on Sunday  19 July 2015 for our  get together in the Beachwood Mangroves.  This is an open invitation so feel free to bring along additional friends to this amazing space in the middle of the city.


We will be there from 11.30 am onward, for the day.  Bring along binoculars, braai stuff, salads to share, chairs and the necessary for a social.

Kind regards
Margaret Burger
tel:  031 573 1054
fax: 031 573 1058
cell: 083 630 5380

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Annual General Meeting of the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy | Wednesday, 17 June 2015

                                           ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy will be held at:

VENUE           :                       Pick ‘n Pay Hypermarket Training Centre

DATE              :                       Wednesday, 17 June 2015

TIME               :                       5.30 for 6.00 pm

                                                    
                                                  SPEAKER


Guest speaker, Paolo Candotti will examine “Conservation in an Urban Environment”. He will share the Kloof Conservancy journey of engaging communities, the city and national authorities along the way … an epic journey which is just beginning … as he motivates the eThekwini Conservancies Forum …


Refreshments will be served.  All welcome. Contact Margaret Burger on 0836305380 / 0315731054 / or email: umgeni.estuary.conservancy@gmail.com

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 23 November 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Dear Members, Friends and Family (and friends of friends)…

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 23 November 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Please join us on Sunday 23 November 2014 for our end of year get together in the Beachwood Mangroves.  This is an open invitation so feel free to bring along additional friends to this amazing space in the middle of the city.


We will be there from 11.30am onwards, for the day.  Bring along binoculars, braai stuff, chairs and the necessary for a social.

Kind regards
Margaret Burger
tel:  031 573 1054
fax: 031 573 1058
cell: 083 630 5380




Monday, 29 September 2014

Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions - Saturday 4th October 2014, Durban

GOING, GOING...GONE - ELEPHANTS, RHINOS AND LIONS


Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions - Saturday 4th October 2014.


The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization cordially invite you to join them at
the Durban Global March for Elephants and Rhinos 4th October 2014.
Durban,
81 Berea Rd, King Dinizulu Park opposite Durban University of Technology
Finishing at the City Hall
Down Dr Pixley Kaseme St (old West Street)
https://www.facebook.com/events/388607577944259/
Find a March near you: http://www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org



South Africans are uniting with thousands of people in over 120 cities
across the globe asking us all to shun ivory, rhino horn and lion bones as
commodities. Set to be the largest demonstration of its kind ever, the
Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) on 4th October will raise
awareness and ask each and every government to publicly destroy their
stockpiles of illegal wildlife products, to show zero tolerance for illegal
trading.

The walk has gained massive support including   Mrs Helen Clark, head of the
United Nations Development Program had this to say, "Together, we have to
work to stop the slaughter...... on the 4th of October in more than 120
location around the world - from the iconic Maasai Mara to New York people
will march for elephants and rhinos ..... find out where you can march for
Elephants and for Rhinos on the 4th of October and please take part. Thank
you"

"Debating the statistics is no longer relevant, " GMFER event organizers
say, "it doesn't matter which data you choose to look at, there is no
denying that the world is rapidly losing elephants, rhino and lions towards
extinction."

Painfully clear too is that even in this 'modern age' a rampant demand for
freshly poached elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, and lion bones continues.
This growing trade in body parts is a key factor in the demise of these
globally iconic species, and GMFER event organizers say that "killing this
demand is a key part of the solution."

The message is loud and clear and coming from all corners of the globe - at
the current rate of killing and with the growing demand for ivory, horn and
bones, our children's children are highly unlikely to see the most
magnificent animals in the wilds of Africa.

There are times when we have to make crucial decisions based on the
information we've got. GMFER organizers are encouraging us to make such a
decision now, because there is no "later" for the elephants, rhinos and
lions.

The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization cordially invite you to join them at
the Durban Global March for Elephants and Rhinos 4th October 2014.


Kind regards,
Yvette Taylor
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization
Tel: +27 31 2662024
yvette@earthorganization.org
www.earthorganization.org

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, on the uMngeni River, a JOJO home and a Goliath heron

Thanks Bill for the pictures which tell their own story.  Bill Fereday sent an email after a day on the river with bart Fokkens of DUCT, on 19 September 2014 and I have copied his story here with his photographs.


What is sad is that the area to the right of this behind where "Joe Joe" lives, used to be a lovely vegetable garden about the size of 3 football pitches, they had money for this from a NGO, now it's just overgrown with invasives and other weeds. I don't know why this happened, my plan was when we made the trail  we would buy our fresh provisions from them, I still wish that trail had happened.


Bart and I went to do some work on the river yesterday and got a bit of a shock when we found the river completely blocked for about 200 meters with water hyacinth, we tried to get through but it was just too thick, we sprayed as much as we could but now it's going to be down to grappling hooks a muscle power to try to pull it out, as you can see, the grass is becoming a problem growing further into the river. This is about 1km up from the N2 Bridge



We may try to get the machine that can chop the blockage up but the machine costs a lot -  money DUCT doesn't have, I come much cheaper!!


We found 6 large dead carp in the river, the strange thing was there were no other type of fish, we did remove two nets spread across the whole of the river, neither had fish in, maybe the other fish had already died and the Carp were the last to go. I also got to see my first black mamba of the year.






The Goliath heron made my day!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 20 July 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai



Dear Members, Friends and Family (and friends of friends)…

Beachwood Mangroves Sunday 20 July 2014 | Umgeni Estuary Conservancy Social Bring 'n Braai

Please join us on Sunday 20 July 2014 for our winter get together in the Beachwood Mangroves.  This is an open invitation so feel free to bring along additional friends to this amazing space in the middle of the city.

We will be there from 11.30am onwards, for the day.  Bring along binoculars, braai stuff, chairs and the necessary for a social.

Kind regards
Margaret Burger
E mail: umgeni.estuary.conservancy@gmail.com