Hillcrest Conservancy wishes to thank all were able to support the AGM on Friday 26 July 2019 at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church Hall, Nqutu Road, Hillcrest and also those who brought delicious snacks for the social get-together and refreshments.
Nick Evans with the Stephen Hamilton Award – “an Amateur Zoologist for exceptional contribution(s) to zoology”
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT: HILLCREST CONSERVANCY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2019
I have pleasure in presenting my report for the year July 2018 to June 2019. I will keep this short and show only some of our activities during the year.
Presently we have 84 paid up supporters with a total of 250 on our e-mail list. This list is important as it provides us with critical volunteers for events where we need support on an ad hoc basis.
Events and Activities.
The highlight of the year was the erection of new information signboards in Springside Nature Reserve. The hard work done by Lynne Matthews is now available for the public to enjoy, as the boards provide much needed nature awareness information.
Our Kingfisher Centre also has a new sign, a hand-painted ceramic tile donated by Pat and Beryl Draper; our thanks to them. The sign was erected in time for the annual Hillcrest Rotary braai, when new members were exposed to the work done by past Rotarians.
Our monthly bird walks continue to be popular, record numbers now attending. New species are regularly identified with the unique combination of the various biomes being responsible for these sightings. We have been blessed to have Derek Spencer as part of our team. The bird team catering girls provide much needed refreshments.
The IAP awareness training programmes continued during the year with the help of Barry Lang who has stepped in to fill the work done by the late Ian Pattrick. We now undertake some practical control work in the Nature Reserve as part of the training course. The importance of training and up-skilling gardeners is imperative to the success of conservation and we have excelled here this year, with some 150 candidates trained.
We have been successful in tackling sections of the road verges where IAP’s are present, and this has made a difference to the area. Our team consisting of Ian, Barry, Thokozani and myself; have been very active in this respect. Many small wildlife species use these wild sections of the road reserve.
Our monthly work parties in the Reserve during the first Saturday of every month are successful and open to any member of the public who wants to assist. We need a volunteer to bring along a skottle at mid-day to make the event more sociable.
We recently joined up with KHBA and cleared a large section of the rail reserve near Bothas Hill. This area was infested with IAP’s and the regular rail safety audit required this work to be done. My work with the KHBA labour crew showed me what excellent work Marge is doing in the community. We have also been assisting the Kloof Project (KKBA) with clearing the rail reserve and the construction of a cycle track in some parts in Kloof. Our skills in tackling IAP’s has helped them tremendously, and we hope to link up the trail to Hillcrest in the future.
Our annual Wildflower weekend was a great success in that it was an opportunity for the public to meet and chat about wildlife. The flowers were not that great but the walks during that weekend were well supported.
Springside Nature Reserve.
From small beginnings in the 1980’s, the reserve has continued to grow in strength; with ever increasing members of the public using the facility. The reserve is used as a model for eThekwini, especially as it is an important interface between rapid urbanization and the protection of bio-diversity. The Reserve was proclaimed as a protected area. Springside Nature Reserve is used for school outings, including Hillcrest Rotary Club Boot Camp programmes.
The dedicated work of Jabulani and his crew in upholding the standard of this Reserve is greatly appreciated, and we are most grateful for this.
The Duckett pond at the top end of Springside is a special protected area for the Kloof frog, a total of 28 have been sighted there.
The work at “Neglected Park” at 64A Springside Road is still on-going with us handling the IAP’s and council cutting the grass.
Our work with other conservancies within our Zone, as well as within the eThekwini Conservancies Forum is on-going. The Forum meetings provide an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas, and I am amazed at the number of protected areas around Durban.
Request for Sub Committee Members: We always have a need for new members for the various sub-committees and I am pleased to announce that Stephen Knight has agreed to join our team.
In conclusion, I pay tribute to our small but effective management team, who have worked tirelessly for Springside Nature Reserve and Hillcrest Conservancy, and provided me with fantastic support. Thanks to Sue, Luci, Roger, Ann, Ian, Carolyn, Maggie, Gill, Lindsay, Barry, Richard, David and Stephen, for their fantastic support during the year. I would also like to thank Beryl, who has assisted us by running the mail shots and other admin activities from Howick; and for this we are most grateful.
Thank you – George Victor 26 July 2019