Flower Valley’s 2018-19 annual report available

The Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s annual report for 2018 – 2019 is now available. Says Executive Director, Lesley Richardson: I’ve been part of an intricate Flower Valley Conservation Trust journey. This journey has seen Flower Valley evolve and grow. What started as a non-profit organisation that protected Flower Valley Farm has today grown into a Trust that works across the Cape Floral Kingdom.”

The full report is available here.

Supporting vulnerable children through our ECD Programme

By Lizelle Henegan

 

The Flower Valley Conservation Trust Early Childhood Development (ECD) team has further strengthened our partnership with the Creative Skills Factory during the past six months.

Together we’ve facilitated five workshops for practitioners who work at the six ECD Centres that Flower Valley supports.

The aim? To build on the practitioners’ existing knowledge of how children develop and learn in order to enrich their observation skills and support them in meeting the children’s needs.

Gabrielle Jonker Cook, the programme manager, and Kieran Whitley from our ECD Programme collaborated with Regina Broenner, occupational therapist of Creative Works, to facilitate the workshops.

Gabbi says, “There is a wonderful synthesis in our respective work as it rests in a deep respect for young children, combined with our complementary values, skills and expertise.”

Seventeen practitioners, which included both teachers and home-based field workers from different locations in the Overstrand, attended the monthly workshops.

The workshops were structured according to the following themes: The workshops were structured according to the following themes: 

• The developmental milestones of early childhood

• Sensory development as the base for all perception and learning 

• Stages of drawing and their relation to different ages and emotional stages of the child 

• The observation of play as a tool of early identification 

• And the teachers’ personal reflections on their role in the child’s life, as well as their own needs in terms of self-empowerment

Identifying the situations where urgent intervention is required:

The teachers gave feedback after practising the given observation tools and their input revealed that some children in their care showed developmental delays and might need immediate intervention. The teachers would greatly benefit from future tools and coordinated group efforts to support these children and their families.

“It is essential to build up a referral system and professional support for those children, parents and teachers in need,” says Kieran. “Once we start to train teachers in observing children at an early age, we need to follow that training up with support and solutions.”

The participants all agreed that they are looking forward to build on the foundation laid down during the workshops

Flower Valley and Creative Works have been actively seeking financial support to continue with this valuable endeavour.

Should anyone want to find out more, please contact: Gabrielle Cook Jonker at gabbi@flowervalley.co.za.

Position: Field Worker (Home-based ECD programme in Baardskeerdersbos)

Flower Valley Conservation Trust (FVCT) is a registered Public Benefit Organisation, based on Flower Valley Farm, outside Gansbaai in the Overstrand. The Trust runs an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme in the Overstrand Municipal District, as well as a Fynbos Conservation Programme across the Cape Floral Kingdom.

The Trust is now advertising for a part-time position:

Field Worker (Home-based ECD programme in Baardskeerdersbos)

JOB PURPOSE

Looking for an energetic individual to support Flower Valley’s Home-based ECD programme in the Baardskeerdersbos area.

JOB FUNCTIONS

  1. Conduct age-appropriate stimulation home visits for children from 0-5 years old.
  2. Offer support to pregnant mothers and engage with parents.
  3. Visits to be conducted on a home-to-home basis in a small farming community around 20 km outside Gansbaai.
  4. Further responsibilities dependent on experience.

MINIMUM EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS

  • Knowledge/interest in early childhood development is essential.
  • Must have own car and valid driver’s license.
  • Understanding of working within communities is beneficial.
  • Understanding of substance abuse/handling referrals is beneficial.
  • Interest in community development/empowerment.
  • Available for a minimum of 20 hours a week.

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

Deadline: 18 December 2019

Starting date: 1 February 2020

For more information, contact Rita Graham during office hours: 028 388 0713.

Please send your CV, a valid copy of your ID and a cover letter to rita@flowervalley.co.za or kieran@flowervalley.co.za.

  

Position: Outdoor Assistant (live-in position)

Flower Valley Conservation Trust (FVCT) is a registered Public Benefit Organisation, based on Flower Valley Farm, outside Gansbaai in the Overstrand. The Trust runs an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme in the Overstrand Municipal District, as well as a Fynbos Conservation Programme across the Cape Floral Kingdom.

The Trust is now advertising for the following full-time position:

Outdoor Assistant (live-in position)

JOB PURPOSE

To take responsibility for the overall garden establishment and general maintenance. Work in a team to create a pleasant and productive ‘food and discovery’ garden environment that is safe and secure for both children and visitors.

JOB FUNCTIONS

  1. Establishing and maintaining outdoor gardens.
  2. Maintenance of outdoor equipment and infrastructure.
  3. Care and maintenance of farm animals, including baboon management.
  4. Preparation of outdoor classes.
  5. Food garden harvesting processing and storage.
  6. Follow the instruction of line managers and Assistant Farm Manager as they arise.

MINIMUM EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS

  • Someone who is willing to live on the farm in a simple worker’s cottage.
  • Ability to operate light machinery and undertake manual labour.
  • To have a love of nature and the outdoors.
  • Permaculture and gardening experience will be beneficial.
  • To be practical with good organisational and problem-solving skills.
  • Knowledge of plants and the environment.

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

Deadline: 29 November 2019

For more information, contact Rita Graham during office hours: 028 388 0713. Please send your CV and a cover letter to Rita Graham: rita@flowervalley.co.za.  

 

Flower Valley’s latest news

Latest News

Wildfires: We’re certainly no stranger to their devastation.

In 2006, the entire Flower Valley Farm burnt to the ground. It was an experience you can’t put words to. It not only destroyed 60,000 hectares of landscapes and the wildlife in it, but also affected our Fynbos livelihoods.

Today is Fire Prevention Day.

In order to help prepare ourselves for fire season in the Overberg, Sharon Brink chats to the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association’s Louise Wessels in our Flower Valley Podcast on what you can do to help prevent wildfires. And Flower Valley’s Kirsten Watson provides insight on how fires are changing in the Overberg.

On Flower Valley Farm, with the help of our wonderful supporters who have Adopted a Hectare, our firebreaks are now in place. But despite the winter rains, it’s still dry here (as it is across much of the Overberg). Today should serve as a good reminder: We should all be prepared this year.

Get our latest news here.

Kind regards,

Roger Bailey
Executive Director: Flower Valley Conservation Trust

 

Terms & Conditions for Flower Valley & Vivolicious competition:

• This prize is worth R709 • The winner will be announced on Monday, 23 October 2019. • The prize is 1 pair of Protea ¾ Capri tights from Vivolicious. • The winner will be randomly selected from Facebook and Instagram entries. • Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. • We reserve the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions. • Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions. • We reserve the right to delete and remove any inappropriate comments on social media, and to ban individuals who may leave inappropriate comments. • Prize cannot be exchanged for money. • The winner will receive a message via the social media platform they entered on, and the winner’s name will appear on the Flower Valley and possibly Vivolicious social media platforms. • Prize delivery will be arranged by the Vivolicious administration team. • Entrants must reside within the South African borders. • We acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Instagram.

 

Wildfire in the Overberg: So what has changed?

By Kirsten Watson

For me, this year started like no other. We were only a few days into 2019 when we heard the news: It’s burning. Franskraal, our closest town (to Flower Valley Farm), was being evacuated.

It was one of three fires burning in the Overstrand at the time. And with fire-fighting resources under strain across the district, many landowners (including Flower Valley Farm) came to help. 

We lost our cellphone reception AND electricity supply. Communicating was impossible. Fire-fighting became even more challenging.

During this time, I had the opportunity to see a ‘new’ side of fire – one that fire-fighters are seeing all too much of.

So what has changed?

1. It seems that wildfires are now burning in unusual circumstances, even after rain, and during winter months.

Why? This is because of climate change and prolonged drought.

2. Wildfires are more aggressive 

(like the Franskraal fire). We are seeing an increase in fire intensity (we hear this also from our Overberg Fire Chief, Reinard Geldenhuys). He warns this is due to the drought and the alien invasive species that create a much hotter fire and is more difficult to control than a fynbos fire.

3. You simply can’t rely ONLY on your own team and your neighbours today. 

You need to be tuned into bigger partnerships, who also have access to resources. And it’s essential to be an active member of a Fire Protection Association and participate in your local Fire Management Unit.

4. To undertake a management burn today, you need to plan. 

In fact, it requires a lot of planning – including having the right PPE (personal protective equipment), the right people, and getting the timing right. There’s no room for a mistake.

5. Today we know that the majority of fires are human-induced (according to the goFPA). 

There are also more high risk weather days that makes ignition easier. These two factors contribute to the increase in fire frequency that we are experiencing in the Overberg.

6. Be careful of sparks that can be created from slashers, “bossieslaaners” or brush cutters when they hit stones.  

Accidental fire ignition is not only from cigarette butts or fires left unattended. They can also ignite from using metal machinery.

Our region is a hot-spot for wildfire this year. So as fire season looms in the Overberg, these are some of the changes we note, and try to prepare for.

We’re extremely grateful to our neighbours, our partners in the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, and our support in our Fire Management Unit. And of course to the Overberg and Overstrand fire-fighters and the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association for assisting us all to be as wildfire ready as we can be.

Image credit: Riaan Jacobs

A ‘new’ pre-school for Buffeljagsbaai’s children

Pre-school learners in Buffeljagsbaai have moved into a newly-renovated building which can now care for at least 20 children.

The children were originally schooled in a small space that was not registrable with the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape.

Now, with support from the community and a number of partners, including the Overstrand Municipality, I&J and Flower Valley’s Early Childhood Development Programme, the children can enjoy a large new classroom, a resource room, a newly-built kitchen, bathrooms and an office for the Centre’s Manager, Nicole Arendse. The centre, called Seesterretjies, is situated behind the Buffeljagsbaai Library.

The partners also planted a new lawn for children to play in and built a big sand pit area. The next step is to create a large shaded area.

The school is overseen and managed by Chairperson Amelda Groenewald and Manager Nicole Arendse. It currently cares for nine children from the community – with more children likely to join soon.

Partners involved in the project include the Overstrand Municipality, I&J, the Lighthouse to Lighthouse walkers, and a number of local businesses, including Gansbaai Spar and Build-It. Community members, including Amelda Groenewald, have been instrumental in ensuring a better service and greater opportunities for the residents of Buffeljagsbaai.

Aside from the donor support from the likes of I&J, the Lighthouse to Lighthouse hikers (who walk through Buffeljagsbaai on their annual hike) helped by painting the walls of the school. They also funded the grass, car port shading, and a tutoring course for a teacher.

Flower Valley’s ECD Programme continues to support the school to meet the required legal compliances. The teachers also receive support through the Milkwood Learning Programme – which provides training support to upskill these practitioners.

 

Kat Myburgh, Area Manager of the Gansbaai district says, “We will have leaders emerging from these class rooms, who will look back and say: I started by schooling here; I received my first formal education at this crèche. In my mind, there is no doubt about this. I know it.”

According to Overstrand Mayor, Dudley Coetzee, “With many hands and lots of love and enthusiasm, I&J Seesterretjies Crèche now provides an Early Childhood Development service to children under the tutelage of Amelda Groenewald, Nicole Arendse and their team.”

 

Position: Natural Resource Management Administrator (re-advertised)

We’re re-advertising the post for a Natural Resource Management Administrator.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust is a not-for profit and public benefit organisation situated in the Overberg region with a key focus on improving natural resource management for the conservation of Fynbos and those livelihoods that depend on it. The Natural Resource Management Programme includes an Overberg-wide Alien Clearing Programme implemented across nine conservancy groups and a Sustainable Harvesting Programme that supports the fynbos cut flower industry. A wonderful opportunity is available for an Administrator to contribute towards conservation within the Overberg. You will be based at Flower Valley Farm near Gansbaai.

 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Implement and monitor all administrative standards and procedures;
  • Human Resource management – Participants list updated and maintained on monthly basis;
  • Monthly management of attendance/leave register updated;
  • Administration according to requirements of different funding organisations, specifically meeting government funding and policy requirements;
  • Planning of daily activities;
  • Adhere to pre-determined deadlines;
  • General office duties relating to the above activities.

 

REQUIREMENTS

  • Qualification in Administration, or diploma in a similar field;
  • Computer literacy – Working experience in Excel, Power Point and Microsoft Word;
  • Excellent organisation skills;
  • Experience in Human Resource Management;
  • Driver’s licence compulsory;
  • Report writing skills;
  • Speak at least two of South Africa’s official languages;
  • Confident to engage with stakeholders;
  • Pro-active and self-motivated individual;
  • Candidates with 3 -5 years relevant experience are preferred.

 

Salary package will be discussed based on an individual’s experience. A job competency test may be done before an individual is appointed. This a one-year contract, with potential for renewal depending on performance. Start date is as soon as possible.

Apply by submitting your CV and a motivation letter to fynbos@flowervalley.co.za by 12 September 2019.

Next steps to rid the Overberg of invasive plants

A new invasive alien clearing programme has
launched in the Overberg. 

The project is an Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) project, implemented by Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

 

Flower Valley secured just short of R12-million over the next 3 years from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

This project follows up on invasive alien clearing work undertaken in the Overberg over the past 8 years – since the launch of the ABI project. In the project this year, we’ll target:

 

  • 4,655 hectares of follow up clearing;
  • And 1,039 hectares of initial clearing.
  • It will also create 16,768 person days of work this year.

The implementation plan is based on a partnership model.

Flower Valley works with conservancies and other land user groups to roll out the project. We’re working with 9 such groups in this round.  

That means landowners must be a member of a land user group to qualify for clearing support. This allows conservancy-wide clearing plans to address invasive species challenges across the landscape, with crucial areas prioritised.

In this project, Flower Valley works closely with the Land User Group representative. But the Trust also works closely with each landowner who agrees to join the project, as well as with the elected contractors.

Over the past 8 years, the partnership has learnt a number of lessons that will be addressed in this round.

The quality of the clearing is essential.

And that requires closer monitoring – both from the landowner (or his/her elected representative), as well as by the Flower Valley team.

The DEA-funded project also requires a strong administrative support team. While DEA funds support the clearing work and transport of the contractors, they do not support the admin requirements.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO LANDOWNERS JOINING THE PROJECT?

 

  • All clearing salaries and transport costs are covered.
  • Herbicide assistance is provided.
  • The Flower Valley team ensures best practice standards are implemented, in terms of health & safety, and herbicide use.
  • Working with the Land User Groups, the Trust pulls together the Annual Plan of Operations.
  • We advise each contractor on each site that will be cleared.
  • And we monitor and assess the quality on completion.
  • The Trust’s team also supplies detailed maps and datasets on treatment-areas.
  • And the Flower Valley team serves as the communication touchpoint with DEA.

Landowners who choose to join the project pay an administrative fee, to cover these service costs.

For more, contact your Land User Group representative, or speak to Stanley Engel. Email: stanley@flowervalley.co.za; or Tel. 028 425 2218.

The project is co-funded by the Drakenstein Trust and Millennium Trust. 

A Fynbos Forum field trip on Flower Valley

Flower Valley is teaming up with the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy to get researchers and conservationists into our region’s special Fynbos during the Fynbos Forum in August.

SUSTAINABLY HARVESTED FYNBOS

Attendees at the Fynbos Forum will experience the farm as a test site for sustainably harvested Fynbos. We’ll also showcase the use of the Code of Best Practice for harvesting, and tools used to monitor harvesting practices.

FYNBOS & WINE

We’ll then stop for a Fynbos pairing and wine tasting at fellow Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy member, Lomond Wines.

FYNBOS LANDSCAPES

And the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy staff will introduce visitors to the work undertaken by the conservancy to secure these Fynbos landscapes. This includes a video of some of the amazing wildlife found within the conservancy and captured on camera by the Grootbos Foundation.

The Fynbos Forum is an annual event held in Fynbos-rich areas.

It brings conservationists, researchers, universities, government departments and non-profit organisations together to improve knowledge and through research, to better protect Fynbos.

This year the Forum takes place in the Overberg in the town of Baardskeerdersbos between 5 and 8 August.