23 February 2017
Evan welcomed everyone and Peter opened the meeting with a prayer.
1 Present : Evan Powell (CHR), Graeme Altenkirk (2ic), Diana van Rensburg,Nellie Morgan, Joce Gordon, Peter Craig-Cooper, Jim Morgan, Rob Farquharson,Uschi Powell, Penelope Mayson, Oubaas Visser, Linda Benade,Lynette de Jong, Mel Fennell.JJ van Rensburg, Errol Potgeiter.
2 Apologies : Sandra Dill-Franzen, Paul Dill-Franzen, John Webb, Andrew Hudson, Juan de Beer, Johan Veldsman, Lizzy Modiga, Peter Joubert, Lenara Joubert.
3 Feedback on Priorities for 2017
· Game Management - Ralf Kalwe will be re-assessing the state of the veld on 13 March 2017.
· Alien Plant Eradication – ongoing projects.
· Education – rain caused postponement of some activities. The grass walk and talk will now take place on 24 February.
Another snake talk could be planned for April holiday time.
· Communication – bulletin and display boards, revamped by Sandra and Paul, are looking good.
Ideas and / or articles for the rates inserts should be submitted to CHR so we can have them ready to be sent out at the appropriate time.
Statements on behalf of Honorary Rangers must be channelled through the CHR and care must be taken if posting any comments on social media, particularly with regards to culling.
· Recruitment – Juan was not present so will be presented with his epaulettes at the next meeting. We would welcome new members.
· Governance – constitution and code of conduct will be clarified and updated.
4 Bush Snippets
Peter has spotted 3 little guinea fowl.
Evan had seen a fishing spider which is able to run on land, swim in ponds and catch fish.
Oubaas reported a python near his house.
5 Forum Meeting – feedback
At the latest meeting there had been a heated discussion on the reposting from one website to another, of the high court action against pet owners.
The Forum will discuss the findings from Ralf Kalwe’s re-assessment at the next meeting.
There is a project to get funding from R20, an international company, to establish a recycle plant at the dumpsite when it is cleared.
· Bird walks – Next bird walk Saturday 4 March, meet at 2 Trees at 6.00 am.
NOTE MEET 2 TREES.
· Lion Tracking – the weather and thickness of the bush has made it difficult to see the lions
but their condition is good.
There were 3 buffalo at the last sighting received and the rhinos are doing well.
· Snake report – John had received no calls but Riaan had removed a Mozambique Spitting Cobra and a Boomslang. He had also been seen transporting a Vine Snake.
· Alien Plant Removal Work Parties
The DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) who gave a presentation at the last meeting, will be producing posters on Parthenium to be displayed in Marloth Park and surrounding areas. They do not have a programme for training HRs to become inspectors at present. The inspectors will return in April to conduct further inspections and issue pre-directives, if and where required.
Uschi reported that last month 9 different species of aliens were removed with the team being active for 151 hours as opposed to the previous month, where 46 hours were worked. New volunteers had assisted with removal and were thanked.
The municipal workers, led by Terence, plus 2 gardeners provided by Paula are working on Tuesdays. Last week they sprayed Parthenium at the gravel pits in Lionspruit using Garlon and Viroaxe in different areas to test which is more effective.
Joce cautioned against using Access, as the active ingredient is Piclorum which can kill trees. She will investigate if MSMA can be used as we still have some stock but Working for Water will not use it. Joce also pointed out that there is an ongoing biocontrol project on Parthenium at the gravel pits and would have to speak to Terence to check they had not sprayed in that area which will render the whole project null and void.
The alien plant of the month is Mother of Thousands.
A farmer in the Free State had reported that sheep had eaten Parthenium and subsequently died within 3 hours. If this is true it can have serious repercussions for sheep and cattle farmers. The DEA have been recommending that famers plough the Parthenium into the land before planting their crops instead of using herbicides. Research is taking place to see is there are any positive ways to utilize Parthenium.
· Working for Water - No plans for teams at present.
· Maintenance - Oubaas will start to remove the vegetation around the benches along the river on the Crocodile side and Graeme will attend to the Seekoei side. Graeme still has signs to erect in Lionspruit and it appears that the rhinos are using one of the posts as a rubbing post. He will put rocks around the base to prevent this. Paul had reported that the thatch on the roof of the bird hide at Frikkies needs repairing.
· Bush Rehabilitation – HR and WTF have agreed to collaborate on a bush clearing project using LEFPA who usually clear and cut fire breaks. Their teams consist of 2 cutters and 10 clearers. The cost for the team covers wages, transport and living costs. HR have agreed to a one week trial with the cost shared with WTF. They would only be employed on parkland and permission will have to be given by the municipality. The areas need to be identified and the trees to be cut, marked clearly. This intensive work needs to be undertaken by those who understand bush clearing. Joce will head this project. It is important to get input from Ralf Kalwe first before we embark on bush clearing.
7 Public Liaison – Facebook / Website
People reported seeing the HR Facebook page differently depending on the device used. We will ask John about the set up so the latest photos always come up first.
8 Game Management and Game Counts
The FORUM will meet after Ralf Kalwe’s reassessment in March.
9 Fund Raising
We have on-going sales of grass seed, fridge magnets and alien plant brochures.
Grass seed is still available.
We will go ahead with donation boxes and once made, will be placed in the shops.
10 Winter Fair 2017
A meeting for the fair committee will be held after this meeting.
11 Finances / Asset Register
Nellie reported on finances with the main expenses being the cost of the First Aid Course. This has been booked and paid for but 2 attendees have asked to pull out. Unfortunately the fees will still have to be paid as we cannot cancel at this late stage.
Nellie asked for the latest asset register to be emailed to her, copy Evan in.
Graeme needs the generator and will check the whereabouts and make sure it is working.
A resident has offered his services to fix pumps and will only charge for parts. There could be others who can assist with maintaining equipment.
Rob suggested a “Tree of the Month“ be posted on the website. We will start with Wild Mango as this was planted for Dev. Rob will write the article.
Rob will take charge of the tree labelling project. He will ask others to assist when requests come in.
Oubaas has reported the speeding trucks going from the dump along Olifants to the gate. Alison will be taking up this issue with the contractor.
Sundowners for HRs and partners will now take place on Thursday 9 March at 16.30 at cnr Swartwitpens and Seekoei. Bring drinks, snacks and chairs.
There was no further business so the meeting finished at 9.35.