Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter November 2002
From the Hide
There is not too much to report from the hide this month, water levels are still a bit too high for the migrant waders, though Ducks are breeding and their clutches of tiny chicks can be seen swimming behind the parents. There is still a small flock of Flamingos though most of them seem to have moved off.
A programme of alien vegetation clearing has begun near the hide. A large area of Rooikraantz is being cleared in sections and the plan is to do one section at a time, clear away the dead brush and then revegetate with indigenous growth. This is being done by a private concern, and Louis Raubenheimer has also been busy removing alien trees near the pathway to the hide. This is where we used to have a field of Chinkerinchees and hopefully, once the Rooikraantz is gone, the flowers will bloom again in early summers to come.
 
Evening Meeting
Our end of the year meeting is coming up and we urge as many members as possible to attend. We have had a very poor turnout this year at evening meetings, and will not be able to continue with these unless there is an improvement. We don't feel it fair to continue asking speakers to come and address such small audiences or for us to continue paying for the venue when our average turnout is around 20 members. Please give us a surprise and do try and join us this month.
Date: Thursday 21 November 2002
Time: 7.30 for 8p.m.
Venue: Milnerton Aquatic Clubhouse, Pentz Drive, Table View
Topic: 'Snippets and Snax'
We will be updating members on various issues we've dealt with during the year, such as the Potsdam Group's objections to the Wastewater Treatment Works extensions, the relevance of the quarterly CWAC counts, and Natasha Deare, our Conservation Student will be demonstrating her Cochineal/Cactus project, which you might have read about in a recent issue of 'Table Talk'. We particularly appeal to long-standing members, old Committee Members and friends and family of all our members. We ask only that everyone brings a plate of Snacks and we will provide the Snippets, as well as additional snacks. Tea and Coffee will be available and the bar will be open.
 
Recent Outings
The Intaka Island trip in September was enjoyed by the few who attended. The Heronry was full of breeding birds and the weather was perfect.
The trip to Frank Wygold's West Coast Field Study Centre was well attended and everyone is still talking about meeting Frank's chameleons, lizards and snakes!
 
Education Centre
As there were some objections to the proposed Edu-Hut, the project has now been advertised in the Local Press for public comment. We would like to address a few of the concerns to reassure members.
There is some concern about the Edu-Hut blocking views of Table Mountain. The Hut will be positioned almost adjacent to the ablution block and will merge with it. It will also be more than 100 metres from the nearest property boundary. Our Hut would be a wooden flat-roofed structure designed to blend in with the surroundings and we would plant suitable vegetation all around it. We are envisaging the same amount of scholars as we have at present and that only on weekdays, so there would be no security problems. The scholars would be under the control of adult educators and at all other times, the Hut would be kept locked. The area is already used by visitors and includes the ablution block, a parking area and boating ramp. The Friends of Rietvlei would be responsible for the maintenance of the Centre. Our Edu-Hut will not pave the way for any commercial or residential development at Rietvlei and falls in line with the Department of Nature Conservation's guidelines for local Nature Reserves i.e. all Nature Reserves must fulfil an educational obligation. The whole structure is approximately double garage size with a small office and storeroom attached.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members and their families a Happy and Safe Festive Season.

This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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