Whale Coast Conservation’s operations divide into three focus areas:
These focus areas may be described as follows:
We share our passion for nature with communities so that they may benefit from a closer relationship with our awesome natural world. We do this through lessons, expos and nature experiences.
- Inspiring the youth: We connect the youth with their natural heritage through school visits, outdoor camps and leadership mentoring Our Youth Environment Programme (YEP) introduces youth to the fascinating natural world. We visit schools with travelling exhibits or expos on different themes that complement the school sciences curriculum. Our interactive learning material brings the natural world into the classroom in a meaningful way, connecting book learning to real life. Camps in nature are jam packed with nature lessons on land and on the beach. Excitement ramps up after dark when nocturnal animals like frogs and chameleons are easier to find. Camps provide many opportunities for mentoring the youth in science-, life- and leadership skills.
- Knowledge sharing: We share our passion for our unique but fragile world through talks, webinars, adventures in nature and weekly press articles. Our regular talks and webinars feature experts in their field, talking about aspects of nature that inform and inspire us. Webinars are recorded and appear on social media to reach a wide audience. We lead small groups on amazing adventures in nature on a specific topic. We share our passion and knowledge and encourage nature positive actions. We publish weekly nature articles in the local newspaper, The Village News, to reach a wide audience. Articles appear as blogs on our website. Regular Newsletters keep members informed about our activities.
- Citizen Science: Many projects rely on collection of data. The more bodies we have in the field, helping to collect information, the more successful our projects. Cape Dwarf Chameleons are increasingly impacted by urban expansion and habitat transformation. They fall victim to bulldozers when plots are cleared. In gardens they might be undetected and dumped with garden cuttings. Our team leader and volunteers’ survey where chameleons occur in urban areas and relocate them to safe habitats when necessary. Together with partners and volunteers we participate in beach clean-ups along the WCNR coastline. The litter collected is analyzed and tallied, then uploaded to a central database, so that sources of litter can be tracked. This knowledge informs educational interventions to reduce littering. We are building up records of biodiversity in the WCNR through iNaturalist. Staff and school groups take photos of what they see and upload it to the WCNR project.
- Whale Coast Nature Reserve (WCNR) provides a vitally important coast-to-mountain corridor in a Table Mountain Fund identified Climate Mitigation Area. As soon as it was permitted for staff to return to work after hard lockdown, we resumed clearing alien invasive species on the WCNR and conducting plant and animal surveys. A chameleon sanctuary is slowly taking shape in the WCNR and will eventually provide a safe haven for rescued Cape Dwarf Chameleons. Long-term preservation of ecosystem structure and function ensures the conservation of biodiversity through natural processes.
- People. The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown caused enormous human suffering. Lost jobs exacerbated existing poverty in neighbouring communities. Our Protect function extended to protecting people from hunger. The Raimondo Family Trust stepped in and, through Whale Coast Conservation, supported soup kitchens, primarily in our neighbouring community of Hawston.
Through our Watch programme, Whale Coast Conservation registers as an interested and affected party (I&AP) in all advertised public participation processes related to environmental impact assessments, change of land use applications outside of the urban edge and other processes.
During the past year, WCC’s Eco-Watchers Pat Miller and Rob Fryer, have commented exhaustively on several environmental issues that are of great concern.
WCC also offers consulting services for environmental public participation processes to people and organizations outside of the Overstrand, for which we accept a fee.