A journey of self-discovery

Women’s Day seemed the perfect time for the women of our Early Childhood Development Programme to come together at Fynbos Retreat, to attend the Milkwood Workshop.

The workshop connected the 16 practitioners and programme team working toward quality delivery of ECD services to five centres that Flower Valley Conservation Trust supports.

 

Over the two days, the practitioners looked at ways in which young children learn, and how teachers can continue reaching them. The time together was spent making valuable connections as a team of professionals that deliver an essential service to young children and families.

The women also spoke of the importance of self-discovery as a mentor. They were encouraged to self-reflect and ask themselves critical questions during the forest walk and feedback sessions. And to express themselves artistically through clay and weaving art.

 

Taking a look at autism

Social worker, Kieran Whitley, also presented a talk on autism. She has focused her studies on children with special needs. Kieran explained how best work with children with autism, what techniques work best in high pressure situations and how activities like brain-gym can be used to benefit children’s development.

The women enjoyed getting to know each other during their stay at Fynbos Retreat. Nicole Arends, Principal at Seesterretjies Centre, noted how all the practitioners share a common goal: caring for the children in the Overstrand. She said this opportunity gave her a chance to share her knowledge and stories, while learning even more.

 

The Early Childhood Development Programme focuses on creating a holistic development environment for young children and their primary caregivers and educators, while weaving the green thread throughout their education. This can only be done when reflection takes place, and planning happens for the future.

We are looking forward to the next workshop later this year.

 

Flower Valley’s latest news

Our Latests News

“Let’s recommit to work towards our common goal:
a nation where ALL OF US are winners,
all of us have shelter, food and education.”
– Nelson Mandela

This year’s Mandela Day theme is #ActionAgainstPoverty. A powerful statement; one that resonates with Flower Valley. This year, you can support these goals Madiba has highlighted, during our Mandela Day activities at Flower Valley.

We need help improving the infrastructure, playgrounds and gardens at our 5 Early Childhood Development Centres in and around Gansbaai. If you’re in the area, or keen for a trip, your 67 minutes will be so appreciated.

So, how well do you know and love fynbos?

Fynbos is very diverse. I still learn more about it each day.

But do you know and love fynbos? Take our quiz to see if you are a fynbos expert. And let us know how well you did – we’d love to hear.

Get our latest news here

 

Mandela Day: a day to inspire and make a difference

Not sure what to do this Mandela Day, Tuesday 18 July? If you’re in the Overstrand area, we’d love your help. Give 67 minutes of your time, working in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in and around Gansbaai.

 

What do we need?

We have five centres that form part of our Flower Valley ECD Programme. For 67 minutes, you can volunteer at any of the centres, giving your time working in their gardens, playgrounds and helping improve infrastructure.

Or help by giving materials and resources needed by the centres.

The ECD Programme currently works with more than 130 children at centres across the Strandveld region to ensure a safe and nurturing environment to encourage holistic development.

Says Gabbi Jonker, Coordinator of the Flower Valley ECD Programme, “At the Early Childhood Development Programme, we love to incorporate Mandela Day and inspire the community to get involved with the children to help improve the centres.”

She says, “Every year, we are lucky enough to reflect on our country’s past, to celebrate the late Nelson Mandela and use our 67 minutes to unite and build a future. It is in our hands to make South Africa a better place, and you are invited to come spend the day with us.”

To find out more on how you can get involved, please contact Cath Price on cath@flowervalley.co.za or 028 388 0713.

 

 

How did you feel when you turned 18?

Early Learning Centre

Flower Valley Early Learning Centre

Remember turning 18? And how you felt when you transformed from a teenager to become an adult?

Well, this year, we are proud to celebrate our 18th birthday at our Early Learning Centre – our pre-school situated on Flower Valley Farm.

 

Today the centre is home to 27 children, with two separate classrooms, and with a scent and education garden.

But that’s not how it started in 1999.

In fact, the centre then served as a crèche and aftercare centre for the children of parents harvesting fynbos in the Walker Bay region. Back then, the children were cared for in a room in the packshed on Flower Valley Farm.

Following a visit by an AusAID representative, Anne Creux, to Flower Valley Farm in the early 2000s, support came to build the centre. The building was carefully designed, using materials off the farm, with funding provided by AusAID.

 

 

Since 1999, the centre has enjoyed many successes.

In 2006, the Flower Valley ELC joined the Eco-Schools Programme, and thereby officially integrated environmental education into our learning programme.

Last year, we celebrated our Diamond Decade as the Overberg’s longest-serving Eco-Schools member.

And today, Flower Valley’s Early Learning Centre provides a safe learning environment not only to children from the neighbouring rural areas, but also to children from nearby towns and informal dwellings, with a bus service running daily between the towns and Flower Valley Farm.

What’s more, the children are cared for by a team of four, including practitioners and support staff – all who are enjoying further capacity development opportunities.

So congratulations to the ELC on everything you have accomplished. And a feather in your cap for the many children who’ve loved and learnt from the unique experience you’ve had to offer.

 

How much do you love – and know – fynbos?

Do you think that you are an expert in fynbos? Take our fun quiz to see for yourself.

 

Fynbos is threatened on a daily basis by:

There are MANY threats to fynbos. These include climate change, invasive aliens and over-harvesting.

Do you love fynbos?

Do you think it’s worth protecting?

Meet our new Early Childhood Development support

Cath Price

Cath Price

There’s a new face representing Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development Programme. Cath Price has joined the programme team, as the Governance and Administrative support.

Cath made the move from Cape Town to the Overberg to help provide vital educational support and care to families in our region.

She completed a Bachelors in Library Science and her MA in Fine Arts at UCT, and a Diploma in Environmental Education at Rhodes University.

 

“Healthy children support a healthy environment”

Subsequent to that, she worked as an environmental education and research assistant on Anysberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo, and as a nature guide in the Cederberg. Cath has also undertaken administrative roles in Grahamstown, working at the Cape Provincial Library Services and Rhodes University.

She says, “I believe that children should live in environments that foster their development and self-growth in healthy and positive ways. That is every person’s right on a personal level. And healthy children and families also support a healthy environment.”

 

Connecting with government and communities

You may well see Cath around the Overstrand area, as her main areas of responsibility are to offer administrative and governance support and guidance to the fieldworkers of the home-based care programme, and to practitioners of the five centres. This will include liaising with municipalities, government departments, the Gansbaai community and social workers.

Cath’s favourite quote is “live and let live” and she hopes to support the growth and development of the ECD programme, to reach even more children and families in the Gansbaai area.

 

Brunia drives a fynbos focus

brunia

Silver brunia

Silver brunia is helping to focus attention on the Cape Floral Kingdom – and specifically, the need to harvest fynbos sustainably.

In an article featured in the Business Day, the demand for fynbos is highlighted – with fynbos exported to Europe, Asia, Russia and many other global markets. That also shows the importance of sustainably managing the fynbos industry, and supporting research and monitoring to better understand the effects of harvesting fynbos species.

Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting Programme was launched to support responsible action in the fynbos sector. Supported by the WWF-SA Nedbank Green Trust and the European Union, Flower Valley has been working with landowners and harvesters across an area of 75,000 hectares in the Cape Floral Kingdom, encouraging environmental best practice, and social and labour compliance.

To read the full article in Business Day, click here.

 

Fynbos Retreat celebrated as a place to visit by National Geographic!

Fynbos Retreat

Fynbos Retreat

Celebrating the fynbos biome is at the heart of what we do at Flower Valley Conservation Trust – and it seems that National Geographic agrees with our how exceptional our area is!

In a recent feature by NatGeo, they listed “21 Places to Stay if You Care About the Planet” and our joint venture, Fynbos Retreat accommodation, is number 12 on the list. We are thrilled to see Fynbos Retreat on the list, as it really is a special place to engulf yourself in our fynbos.

Fynbos Retreat is situated next door to Flower Valley Farm, hidden away on top of our fynbos mountains. Have a look at the article and make sure to book your weekend away at Fynbos Retreat, hiking, mountain-biking, bird-watching, swimming or simply relaxing and enjoying the peace and tranquillity of this magnificent valley in the Overberg.

 

Our Sustainable Harvesting Programme is looking for 4 field monitors

Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting Programme

Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting Programme is in need of 4 field monitors. They will assist in using a new monitoring method as well as capturing data in the fynbos veld. These positions are short term (for a 5-month period) and asks to be based in the Gansbaai/Stanford area.

 

The responsibilities of the positions include:

  1. Assisting veld harvesters to use a new monitoring method and checking that they are following the sustainable harvesting principles.
  2. Recording field assessment data correctly.
  3. Completing independent fynbos assessments and capturing this information on a computer.

 

Minimum qualifications & experience:

  • Basic computer skills (Word and Google)
  • Matric/Grade 12
  • Valid driver’s license (Code 8/10)
  • Self Motivated
  • Responsible
  • Good physical health
  • Love for nature and working in the outdoors
  • Good people relations

 

Desired qualifications & experience:

  • Previous work/training with a conservation agency (for example: SANParks, CapeNature, Grootbos-Greenfuture College)
  • Off-roading 4×4 experience
  • Speaking a second language (Afrikaans/IsiXhosa)
  • Knowledge of fynbos/harvesting

 

A market-related salary will be negotiated, dependent on qualifications and experience, for the position.

 

Deadline: 16 June 2017

 

Please send your CV, a cover letter, and two contactable references to info@flowervalley.co.za or fax 028 425 2855.

For more information, contact 028 425 2218 during office hours.

A tasty way to use fynbos responsibly

Fynbos gin and fynbos-infused snacks: that was how Flower Valley and friends celebrated International Biodiversity week.

At a Fynbos Fusion event, hosted by Flower Valley Patron, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, a group of lively fynbos supporters came together to celebrate this unique South African heritage.

The event was held at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town on Friday 26 May. Inverroche Distillery founder Lorna Scott held a gin tasting for the guests. Inverroche uses mountain, coastal and limestone fynbos in their three gins.

 

 

Fynbos cupcakes and cheesecake

The morning tea included wonderful fynbos creations, planned and created by Chef Tjaart Walraven, a judge on the Great SA Bake Off, as well as the Vineyard Hotel Chef Carl van Rooyen. Fynbos and Honey Cupcakes, an Orange and Citrus Buchu Crème brûlée, and a Sour Fig Confyt Baked Cheesecake were served.

Of the savoury options, guests enjoyed Wild Rosemary-infused Chicken Mayonnaise Filled Ciabatta; Wild Spinach and Goats Feta Phyllo Parcels and Spekboom, Tomato and Bononcini Quiches.

 

“Blend with fynbos”

Chef Tjaart offered advice on how to cook with fynbos. “Keep it simple but blend what’s local; blend with fynbos.”

According to Flower Valley’s Conservation Director, Roger Bailey, fynbos needs to be protected, given the huge threats fynbos vegetation faces.

He said one mature Blue Gum tree consumes on average 900 litres of water per day. That’s about the same as an average household in Cape Town before the water crisis hit. “That’s why it’s vital we protect our fynbos – naturally-functioning ecosystems, like a healthy fynbos landscape, benefits us in so many ways.”

From the Flower Valley team, a huge thank you to Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, the Vineyard Hotel, Tjaart Walraven, Carl van Rooyen, Lorna Scott and everyone involved in making the day a wonderful success.