Flower Valley’s latest news

Our latest news

There’s a lot going on in South Africa right now. It makes one feel uncertain. And that’s never a nice feeling.

But despite political turmoil, there are some definites we can rely on. Like South Africa’s value in terms of our environment. It’s well known we’re in the top 10 biodiversity-rich countries in the world.

And our fynbos plays a major role in that status. It’s a reason to be so proud of our natural heritage here.

So when International Plant Appreciation Day comes around, we’re at the forefront of the celebrations. It’s on Thursday (but we’ll celebrate all week. Just keep an eye on our social media). And we hope you’ll find your own way to celebrate our very unique fynbos – and the role we should all play in protecting it.

Get our latest news here

A new partnership benefits Masakhane’s children

Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme

It just makes sense when two organisations doing good join forces to benefit the community – especially when it comes to the development of our young children.

So it was a positive moment when Flower Valley Conservation Trust partnered with the Grootbos Foundation, to support young children in the community of Masakhane in Gansbaai.

Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme works with five ECD centres across the Overstrand region. Two of these centres are based in Masakhane: Good Hope and Takalane.

The Grootbos Foundation and Flower Valley will work together to support the administrative, management and governance aspects of the centres. Flower Valley will continue with the learning programme and curriculum support.

Flower Valley’s ECD programme also provides support to children in Buffeljagsbaai, Pearly Beach and to the centre on Flower Valley Farm, reaching about 160 children up to the age of 6. Through a home-based care programme, fieldworkers also visit families in Pearly Beach/Eluxolweni and Baardskeerdersbos, to give support and tools to parents and children here.

According to Flower Valley’s ECD Programme Coordinator, Gabbi Cook, “We are very optimistic and thankful to the Grootbos Foundation for joining hands with us – together we are better; together we are strong. To make real impact, solid and caring partnerships are essential. ”

4 reasons to celebrate Plant Day

This Thursday (April 13) is International Plant Appreciation Day. And what better way to celebrate and appreciate our fabulous fynbos!

So we’ve got 4 reasons to get into the fynbos on Thursday (and any other day, for that matter).

 

#ERICA IRREGULARIS

This endangered pretty pink flower only grows from July to October and is only found in three locations in the world – one of them on Flower Valley Farm. This Erica species used to be harvested for the fynbos bouquet industry. But the fynbos industry and others involved in fynbos soon realised this was not smart. And so harvesting of Erica irregularis was stopped – before extinction!

#ALOE JUDDII

The Aloe juddii is very new to the aloe family – and was only discovered a few years back. This phenomenal new species can only be seen on Flower Valley Farm and Farm215, on high rocky sandstone slopes. Although it’s believed to also occur elsewhere, experts say its population is decreasing, threatened by invasive plants.

#LACHENALIA LUTZEYERI

A wonderful species which was spotted after a small fire in our region in 2004 – by Heiner Lutzeyer of Grootbos. This vulnerable species can be found flowering on Flower Valley Farm from October to November and has the most spectacular white bulb-like petals. The Lachenalia lutzeyeri loves the sun and grows after a fire. But irregular fires are a major threat to this Lachenalia.

#LEUCOSPERMUM PATERSONII

Another vulnerable species that we love on Flower Valley Farm is the Leucospermum patersonii – the silver-edge pincushion. This dark orange pincushion blooms between August and November and the sugarbirds use the plant as a landing pad for them to collect sweet nectar. They make for a beautiful sight on Flower Valley Farm in October.

These interesting plant species are a must see on Flower Valley Farm.

Just remember your hiking shoes and a camera!

Photo credit: Flower Valley Conservation Trust and Fynbos Hub

Making fynbos monitoring ‘easy’

fynbos monitoring

Fynbos monitoring

There’s nothing simple about monitoring fynbos populations – like seeing how fynbos harvesting may affect fynbos in an area over time. So the Flower Valley team has teamed up with scientists and students to find ways to more easily see how fynbos changes in the long term.

Fynbos harvesters and teams head out into the veld daily, picking fynbos species that are used in bouquets, and ultimately sold around the world.

While tons of fynbos is exported out of the country every year, scientists have only been able to use expensive and time-consuming methods to see how this impacts on the landscape itself.

 

Using what we have

Now the Flower Valley Sustainable Harvesting Programme (SHP) team is working with experts, to better use some of the tools we already have.

As a member of the programme, a landowner or harvester is shown how to complete a field assessment on the land. This assessment looks at how well harvesters are complying to environmental standards (as captured in our SHP Code of Best Practice).

Now this field assessment has been reworked to include a monitoring aspect, like including estimates of how abundantly a fynbos species may occur in an area.

 

Support from Stellenbosch University

The SHP team received help from Conservation Ecology students from Stellenbosch University, under the leadership of Flower Valley Trustee, Rhoda Malgas.

The students helped to test the field methods used in the assessment, to see how practical and easy they were to use.

According to Kirsten Retief, the Conservation Extension and Applied Research Coordinator at Flower Valley, the work so far will make it easier for landowners and harvesters to see changes in their veld over time.

 

Combining science and practicality

“The methods we develop have got to be easy for anyone to use. But they must still have scientific integrity. The data we collect from these field assessments will be used to spot fynbos trends over time. And to react quickly if the assessments point to any areas of concern,” she said.

The Sustainable Harvesting Programme is Flower Valley’s flagship programme. The programme gives support to landowners and harvesters to meet best practice environmental standards, as well as social and labour standards. The aim is to help the niche fynbos industry become even more attractive as an ethical industry – while ensuring fynbos landscapes are protected.

The programme is funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust and the European Union.

Our ECD team is growing and you can join the team

Early Childhood Development Programme

Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development Programme is expanding and you can become part of the team. There are two new positions available: a Centre-Based Support Teacher and Governance and Administration support. The positions will be filled by July 2017, and are based in the Gansbaai region.

1. Governance and Administrative Support

Job purpose

To support the ECD Programme Manager to implement the programme with specific reference to programme administration and governance.

 

 Main Job functions

  1. Carry out all administrative functions for the ECD Programme;
  2. Monitor the home-based ECD programme;
  3. Support and coach the centre managers and governing bodies in governance, management and administration.

 

Minimum qualifications & experience:

  • Experience in administration & governance.
  • Preference given to candidates with experience in the social and adminstrative sector or ECD governance.
  • Computer literacy (MS Office).
  • Passion to work on a community-based level.
  • Passion to be part of positive social change.
  • Passion for young children and women and their rightful place in the world.
  • Good interpersonal skills, communication and self-governance.
  • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle

 

2. Centre-Based Support Teacher

Job purpose

To support the ECD Programme Manager in implementing the centre-based programme with specific reference to  curriculum and learning programme support, coaching, training and teacher development.

 

Job functions

  1. Ensure the Learning Programme and curriculum is in place, applied and implemented at centres;
  2. Develop plans with the programme manager for coaching, training and teachers’ professional support; and implement these;
  3. Implement a monitoring and evaluation system for the centre-based programme;
  4. Engage with the community in the centre-based ECD Programme;
  5. On-going curriculum and learning programme development alongside the programme manager;
  6. Facilitate professional development workshops and opportunities for teachers/practitioners and field workers;
  7. Work with relevant stakeholders to ensure the appropriate resourcing, equipping, management and appropriate use of the centres’ indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Minimum qualifications & experience:

  • Degree or Diploma in ECD.
  • Computer literacy (MS Office).
  • Passion to work on a community-based level.
  • Passion to be part of positive social change.
  • Passion for young children and their rightful place in the world.
  • Good interpersonal skills, communication and self-governance.
  • Interest and love for the natural environment.
  • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle

 

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

Deadline: Friday 28 April 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.

Adrenaline junkie? See you this Easter

Happen to be in the Overstrand region over the Easter Weekend? Or just keen for some fun and adventure? Amoija Events presents the Great White MTB & Trail run taking place Saturday 15 April and you are invited to join. The races start at our neighbours, Lomond wine farm, and participants will be able to enjoy Flower Valley’s fynbos when the routes cross over our farm.

Why don’t you bring the whole family and enjoy the outdoors? There is a route for everyone, the more tricky routes for the serious runners and cyclists, as well as the more casual shorter distances.

And after the race, come pop in at Flower Valley Farm (just next door to Lomond), and enjoy our fabulous fynbos without needing to race.

Entry fees are as follows:

Mountain Bike
55km – 08:00 – R250
35km – 08:30 – R180
15km – 09:00 – R100

Trail Run
30km – 08:15 – R250
12km – 08:45 – R120
5km – 09:15 – R50

To avoid the queue and pre-register online, please follow the link.

All information regarding the event can be found on the Entry Ninja website, including registration times. For any more queries on the event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organiser, Naomi, on 083 267 8164 or naomi@amoija.com.

Look forward to seeing you cross Flower Valley Farm so that we can show off our magnificent fynbos on offer!

 

Help from our US partners

We had a class full of happy children – thanks to wonderful donations from our global partners. The Webb School in Tennessee, United States, collaborated with the Stanford Rotary Club and Animal Welfare, to deliver wonderful goods to our Early Learning Centre.

The Rotary Club’s Malcolm Bury and Annie Ranger delivered the five scooters – used to help our children learn about road safety on our road safety track, as well as a number of English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa books.

 

 

The Webb School is a co-ed boarding and day school for children in grades 6-12 in Tennessee. The school has a long history, founded in 1870. It’s hallmark is an education system based on honour and personal integrity.

Thank you from the Flower Valley team – to all the partners who made our children so happy.

Answering tough fynbos questions

fynbos questions

Lea Cohen

Flower Valley is introducing new skills and capacity to answer difficult questions around fynbos use. With the help of a database expert, the team is now able to use internet-based databases, to help analyse trends in fynbos.

We’ve worked with fantastic volunteers, such as Lea Cohen, who shared her knowledge and expertise on open source database management systems with the Sustainable Harvesting Programme.

 

Experience on 3 continents

Lea has varied experience working and volunteering for a number of conservation NGOs on three continents: North America, South America and Africa. Her impressive tertiary background includes Geography, completed at UCLA, and an MSc in Conservation Biology completed at UCT. She has since specialized in GIS and data management systems.

She introduced the Sustainable Harvesting team to programmes used by international companies to manage large datasets and geospatial information.

This will allow the Sustainable Harvesting team to use information we’re collecting to answer more complex questions concerning fynbos use across the Cape Floristic Region. Watch this space!

Spot these 5 offbeat fynbos animals

Our unique corner of the Cape Floral Kingdom is well known for its fabulous fynbos diversity.

But what about the animals? And those little critters that rely completely on fynbos to survive?

Well, we don’t feature them so much. But with the world celebrating World Wildlife Day on Friday, 3 March, it’s high time we changed that.

Flower Valley Farm is home to nearly 70 mammals. And we’ve got just short of 100 listed bird species, 55 types of reptiles and 21 amphibians.

Some you’ll know – they’re seen commonly in fynbos in the Western Cape.

But some are a little more offbeat – and harder to see. Here are five of our favourites. Keep an eye out for them next time you walk through Flower Valley’s mountains and valleys.

CAPE #LEOPARD

We’ve captured photos of this guy (and a partner of his) on our camera traps many times over the years. We know he loves our Flower Valley Stinkhoutsbos Forest. But we’ve often found tracks deep into our fynbos, most recently on a hectare adopted by Jan Buysman (not too far from the Flower Valley homestead).

CAPE #GRYSBOK

This shy little antelope also hides in our fynbos and forest – and we’ve photographed him in the hectares adopted by David Waddilove. We love this antelope – not least as you simply don’t see as many of them as in the past. They can go for long periods without water. Fortunately on Flower Valley Farm, our grysbok can drink from our stream in our forest – which flows throughout the year.

CAPE #LIZARDS

Especially the Cape Crag Lizard and Cape Girdled Lizard – they certainly resemble something from a mythical setting. They occur predominantly in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. These lizards love sunbathing in the Flower Valley sun – this one was pictured on Piet and Linda Human’s hectare, on the mountain slopes on the farm.

VERREAUX’S #EAGLE

This eagle (also known as the Black Eagle) is not considered to be vulnerable, simply because it has such a large range. But it is known to be persecuted in southern Africa – due to human wildlife conflict on livestock farms. Of course, this is not the case in our area. This may not the greatest photo – but we photographed two of these majestic eagles flying over hectares adopted by Kathy Robins recently.

#FYNBOSBLUE

This is the perfect name for the Tarucus thespis – a butterfly with beautiful blue wings. But you can only see the colours when he opens his wings – normally this little butterfly is well and truly camouflaged with the green, brown surroundings in fynbos. We caught this beauty on camera on hectares adopted by Robin Crawford.

We’ve got more pictures of some of the fantastic animals found flourishing in the fynbos here.

Which is your favourite? 

Tell us, by commenting below. And you could win your own adopted hectare on #FlowerValleyFarm for one year. Competition closes 3 March at 12am midnight.

COMPETITION IS CLOSED.

Our thanks to everyone who entered our #WorldWildlifeDay competition.

Our winner is Janetta van Niekerk.

Our winner now has her own adopted hectare on Flower Valley Farm. And by entering the competition, is now contributing to the conservation of fynbos on our beautiful landscapes. Thank you!

 

T&C's

1. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, 7 March 2017.
2. You’ll win an Adopted Hectare on Flower Valley Farm for a year, starting 7 March 2017.
3. The competition is open to all ages.
4. The Flower Valley team will select a winner randomly.
5. However, our decision is final, and we will not be able to enter into correspondence on the matter.
6. Flower Valley reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions.
7. Entry into the competition will be considered as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
8. Flower Valley will not provide your email to any external, third party and the email will only be used by Flower Valley to inform entrants of Flower Valley-related news and activities. Entrants can unsubscribe at any time.
9. Flower Valley reserves the right to not publish any inappropriate comments on any Flower Valley web page or social media pages, and to ban individuals who may leave inappropriate comments.
10. The prize cannot be exchanged for money.
11. Flower Valley will email the winner or message the winner via the social media platform they entered on, and will publish the name of the winner on Flower Valley platforms.
12. Flower Valley acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Stellenbosch University visits Flower Valley

Stellenbosch University

Conservation Ecology students from Stellenbosch University

Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting team hosted the Conservation Ecology students from Stellenbosch University last week, testing the field assessment set out by the Sustainable Harvesting Programme. This visit formed part of a practical component for the Sustainability Course run by one of Flower Valley’s Trustees, Rhoda Malgas.

The class assisted the programme to test the field assessment used to determine how well harvesters comply with the Code of Practice for sustainable harvesting. They were enthusiastic to test the method despite the difficult field conditions which harvesters have to deal with every day for their living. The students also found the pocket field guides very useful and photos were taken to assist with future demonstrations for training with the SHP members.

The class will also be reviewing current literature relating to the Code of Practice to ensure that the Sustainable Harvesting Programme stays current with newly published research. The Sustainable Harvesting team had such a wonderful time with Rhoda and her class, especially for contributing to the programme with their ideas and insights.