HONORARY RANGERS GENERAL MEETING
28 September 2017
Evan welcomed everyone and Peter opened the meeting with a prayer.
1 Present : Evan Powell (CHR), Peter Craig-Cooper, Diana van Rensburg, Uschi Powell, Rob Farquharson, Sandra Dill-Franzen, Paul Dill-Franzen, Oubaas Visser, Lynette de Jong, Linda Benade, Juan de Beer, Mel Fennel, Penelope Mayson, Carol Fennel, JJ van Rensburg.
2 Apologies : Andrew Hudson, John Webb, Lizzy Modiga, Johan Veldsman, Graeme Altenkirk, Nellie Morgan, Jim Morgan, Joce Gordon, Genie Retief.
John has resigned from the committee and Evan thanked him for his contribution. Mel has been co-opted onto the committee.
Carol Fennel was welcomed as a new HR and presented with a cap and epaulettes.
A visitor was welcomed to the meeting.
3 Feedback DEA Visit
Evan reported that the DEA visit was positive and the DEA are professional and knowledgeable and have the will and the means to enforce laws. They are a national organisation who are able to issue directives to Municipalities and can issue warrants to those not complying with the directives.
Uschi presented the feedback on the visit by 2 members of the DEA to Marloth Park on 18 – 21 September who firstly met with Evan and Uschi to plan the week. They visited properties that have previously been reported to them as having alien plants and had not complied with requests to remove them and inspected properties along Seekoei and Crocodile / Moddervis area. They assessed the manner in which Evan and Uschi have approached the inspections and concluded that they do a very professional job. Paul and Mel assisted with some of the inspections. 2 more alien species were identified i.e. Orchid Tree and Mexican Poppy.
A meeting was held with Theo (Theo and Adele's gardening service), he responded positively regarding alien plants and follow up meetings are planned.
A meeting was held with the LEO's, where the lack of directive from the Municipality regarding fines for alien plants was discussed.
A meeting was planned with Velly Makwakwa from the local municipality but he had not responded to the requests.
A plan of action was drawn up :
- The DEA will contact Velly Makwakwa from their offices in Nelspruit to request a meeting.
- They will issue a directive to the Municipality to force a control plan
- They will send a report to the Municipal Manager requesting the following :-
a skip to be provided for garden refuse, the appointment of a full time alien plant officer and an allocation in the budget of 4-5 full time workers for alien plant control.
- The DEA will have future visits targeting Marloth Park property owners, farmers, pet shops, nurseries and schools for awareness campaigns.
- They will hold a week long campaign targeting seriously invaded gardens, clearing them and replacing aliens with indigenous plants and trees.
4 Bush Snippets
Evan reported that he had seen 2 raptors on his stand
Mel reported on a Pygmy Kingfisher which had tried to get into his house during the recent storm. It did enter the next day and stayed for a while on the beams and window frame.
JJ had seen a scrub hare.
- Bird Walk
Saturday 7 October meet cnr Crocodile / Volstruis at 6.00 am.
Every month we will post a photo taken on the bird walk on Facebook and ask a question. This is just for fun but will encourage people to learn more about the birds. No prizes!!
- Game counts
The biweekly game counts will continue and all the previous figures were shown. It was stressed again that these regular counts are the minimum numbers of animals and provide a trend for veld management purposes. They are “aggressive” counts which means that if for example one impala is seen, then the spotters can walk into the bush to see more. Only animals actually seen are counted. No estimates or guesses. There are usually 4 people per vehicle. Count figures will eventually be sent to Ralf Kalwe.
- Lion Tracking
Joce was not present so no report. Photos of the lions were shown.
- Snake report
John was not present so no report. Rob will ask Riaan from Field every month for his figures. John will continue to catch snakes when in the Park and give snake talks.
- Alien Plant Removal Work Parties
11 different species of alien plants were removed with 48 man hours worked with 11 volunteers and 3 municipal workers. 14 stands were visited with 2 having serious alien plant problem.
There will not be an alien plant of the month article this month.
- Bush Rehabilitation
The plan to rehabilitate the area around Naboom is still in progress. We first need to get a plough and then later plant grass seed.
- Tree Tagging
Rob reported that he and Genie had gone out to identify trees but it is still too early as it proved too difficult without the leaves. He still has to order new tags.
- Working for Water
Diana reported that a Working for Water team has finished a contract in one block in Lionspruit. They returned 2 days later on a new contract for another block in Lionspruit. Another team has also arrived to work in a different area in Lionspruit. She thanked those who had assisted with the teams but asked for more volunteers. These teams are well organised and are working well. They are mostly finding Lantana and Chromolaena.
Diana also was aware of contracts waiting for approval for teams to work in Marloth Park on Parthenium.
Graeme was not present so no report. The sign on the gate that Graeme has fixed many times is still in place.
- Rates Inserts
Any ideas or suggestions for rates inserts should be sent to Mel who is collating material. He and Carol are preparing articles on Bush Babies, Animals in Marloth Park, Rubbish in the bush, Baboon Proof Cages, Lions in Lionspruit. Linda offered to help with the Afrikaans translation.
6 Public Liaison – Facebook / Website
Sandra and John are both administrators on Facebook. Sandra has been very active and doing an excellent job posting regularly.
Andrew is updating the website regularly.
Rob will send the “Tree of the month”
7 Fund Raising
The planning for next year’s fair should start soon.
8 Finances / Asset Register
Nellie was not present so no report.
Paul has the updated asset register.
Peter asked about the progress on the dump and the facilities for garden refuse. MPPOA is generally handling this issue.
Penelope will arrange the grass seed to be repacked.
Peter advised that the container needs more repair work on the structure. It will need to be repacked and some items should not be stored there as it gets very hot inside.
There was no further business so the meeting finished at 9.05.