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GENERAL MEETING 29 June 2017

Evan welcomed everyone and Graemeopened the meeting with a prayer.

1      Present:Evan Powell (CHR),Diana van Rensburg,Nellie Morgan, Peter Craig-Cooper, Jim Morgan,Uschi Powell, Penelope Mayson, Joce Gordon. Graeme Altenkirk, John Webb,Rob Farquharson, Sandra Dill-Franzen, Paul Dill-Franzen Oubaas Visser, Genie Retief, Lynette de Jong,Mel Fennel, Linda Benade, Errol Potgeiter, Stuart Long, Derrick Bruins-lich, Dorothy Young, Michael Young, T Buhling.

2      Apologies :Andrew Hudson,Lizzy Modiga,Johan Veldsman, Juan de Beer.

        Evan announced that Rob Farquharson is leaving for Natal and wished him well.

3      Meeting feedback

        At the recent committee meeting the idea of bush braais in Lionspruit was discussed.  These would highlight Lionspruit and provide income for HR and the Municipality. 

        The 2 problem ostriches were also discussed and the proposal of moving them and their nests of eggs to Lionspruit was agreed on.

        HR did gate duty over the long weekend of June 16th but will not be on gate duty at the start of the school holidays coming up.

        Volunteers helping with game counts need Cybertrackerloaded on their phones.

4      Bush Snippets                      

Photoswere shown of Hooded and White Backed Vultures on a tree above a buffalo kill in Lionspruit.

Joce showed a phot of a Mauritian Tomb Bat which is often above her back door.

A leopard had been spotted crossing a stand in Eagle Street.

John reported that the bush babies, which live in his roof, had been taking branches up.  Derrick suggested that it was Marula leaves they wanted to use for nesting material.

A bushbuck was seen with 2 young.                                                                                                                                          

5      Forum Meeting

        This was held with representatives from MTPB and NKM where the ostriches and the offtake figures were discussed.  The details will released by the FORUM when finalised.

        Security was not discussed but MPPOA will be approaching PSIRA, the governing body for security.  If a security company is registered it has to comply with the regulations.

6      Activities

·         Bird Walk

Saturday 1 July, meetcnr Crocodile / Volstruis at 7.00am.

August 5 bird walk will also start at 7.00 am but the September walk will start at 6.30 am.

·         Tree Tagging

Rob has organised all the tree tags, listing them and noting spelling mistakes. Stuart has made a suitable box to carry in the field.  Both were thanked.Penelope has offered to keep the information and tags but someone will have to go out to do the field work.   Spring is a better time to identify trees when the leaves are present.  We plan to identify the trees along Seekoei and along some of the roads in Lionspruit.

A “tree walk” along Seekoei was suggested.

Conservancy is doing tree tags along Olifants.

Rob will continue to write the article on “Tree of the Month” and will email it in.

·         Lion Tracking

Joce submits a report on the condition of the lions in Lionspruit every quarter to MPTB. 

Photos were shown of the lions and a video of a stakeout, where a wildebeest which had to be put down, was strung up on a tree.  This gives a good opportunity to monitor the lions whilst they feed on the carcass.

·         Snake report

John reported that call outs are quieter in winter.

Riaan of Field has removed 1 Mozambique Spitting Cobra, 4 Leguaans, 1 Spotted Bush Snake and 1 Marbled Tree Snake.  John has removed 3 Mozambique Spitting Cobras, 1 Spotted Bush Snake and1 Giant Plated Lizard which is quite unusual.  They can grow up to a metre long and this specimen was approximately 70 cms.

The snake talk to be held on Tuesday 4 July at Jabula is fully booked but we will hold another one on Wednesday 5 July.  We will put up more posters on notice boards and at lodges and post on Facebook.

·         Alien Plant Removal Work Parties

Uschi reported that 12different species of alien plants were removed with132 man hours worked with 13 volunteers,1 guest, 3 municipal workers and 2 gardeners.  10 hours were spent mapping and 5 hours performing back checks.62 stands were visited with 15 having alien plants present.    45 home owners were contacted with 7 complying and removing the alien plants, 22 are ongoing and 16have defaulted.

Uschi again stressed the need for Working for Water teams particularly for Parthenium.

She also asked for any volunteers who can assist with spraying especially mixing the chemicals and carrying the sprayers.

The alien plant of the month is Christ Thorn.

·         Working for Water

Diana met with Working for Water representatives, visiting and inspecting areas for Prickly Pear and also noted the density of the other alien plants.  WFW will advise when teams can be allocated.  The application for WFW teams to spray Parthenium is waiting for approval by the senior management and is likely to be fairly soon.  It is a good time to spray now as the rosettes are fairly small.

·         Maintenance

The thatch on the hide at Frikkies dam has been repaired again after baboon damage.

Repair of the benches along the river was discussed as the cost of this is escalating.  The wooden slats have to be replaced with plastic at an estimate of R1 500 per bench.  When the “bench project” was started the cost of upkeep was not realised.  We would like to continue upkeep of the benches but it was agreed that donations to assist will be asked for in future.

The signs on both entrance gates have been replaced.

The gate at Lionspruit has been repaired and the runners will need replacing again soon.  It was suggested to the guards that they sweep the sand away so the gate can slide easier.

·       Bush Encroachment

Dave Balaam’s team is still busy in the Duiker area.

7              Public Liaison – Facebook / Website

We will now use Facebook to post the alien plant work party arrangements which are currently on WhatsApp.  Maybe other people will join us.

Website – no report

8              Fund Raising

                We have stock of fridge magnets and grass seed for the Fair.

                Penelope has printed a new poster of Spoor of Animals of Marloth Park and Lionspruit.             

9              Winter Fair 2017

The fair committee will meet afterwards. 

Helpers are need on the Friday at 8.00 am to peg out and at 6.00 am on Saturday.Check with Peter.  He has distributed a roster for the fair but we still need more helpers.

10           Finances / Asset Register

Nellie reported that the main expenses were for Frikkies Dam repair and printing whilst the main income is from the fair stalls.

Paul will look at the asset register after the Fair.

11           General

The toilets at both entrance gates are leaking but the Municipality is responsible for that.  Evan will take the matter up with Alfas to see who is in charge of the department responsible for the repairs.

The toilets at HvR are also reported to be in a poor condition and signs must be put up before the fair.

Evan asked that HRs using social media be sensitive and respectful as problems can occur when hasty responses are posted.  It can lead to legal action.  He also requested that some HRs attend MPPOA meetings as only he and Uschi now attend.  He asked for attendees to wear uniform.   Evan reminded everyone that if we are on a duty list then to please turn up.  Even as volunteers we have made a commitment and should follow through.

There was no further business so the meeting finished at 9.45.

Our vision

hrOur vision is to support and assist the Nkomazi Municipality Conservation Department within Marloth Park with their management strategies and objectives while being an effective volunteer group. 
Read a brief  History of Honorary Rangers and the Conservancy

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