Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter November 2005
EVENING TALK – YEAR END FUNCTION
THURSDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2005 AT RIETVLEI EDUCATION CENTRE
The next evening talk is to take the form of a presentation by the three Nature Conservation Students, who are nearing the end of their year's practical at Rievlei. They will give a power-point presentation on their research projects for the year. It will also be our “ end-of-year function ”. To celebrate the end of another year at Rietvlei, and the second year in our Environmental Education Centre we will have a bring-and –share evening. Please could you bring a plate of snacks. We will supply some wine, fruit juice, tea and coffee. We plan to start the student presentations at 8:00pm, so if you could arrive at 7:30pm for some social time first, that would be great. It will also be a chance to watch a lovely Rietvlei sunset. If you have queries please contact Pauline on 557 6920 (a/h)
Our OPEN DAY was held on Sunday 6 November. In spite of a howling wind blowing across the vlei, we enjoyed a walk to the bird hide where we watched flamingos, pelicans, stilts, Egyptian Geese, spoonbill, great crested grebe and many more. It was lovely to have some children there as well. On the way back to the Education Centre we detoured to have a look at some of the plants that have recently been planted near the bird hide, in an area now known as the “bird hide block”. They seem to be growing well. A few years should see them growing into a good patch of strandveld.
Our next Open Day will be early next year. We will keep you posted.
Following an experience one of our members had with a snake while walking around the vlei, the suggestion has been made that you program the phone number of the gatehouse into your cell phone as you pass through the gate, if you are coming in for a walk. This will make it easy for you to summon help if you find yourself in any kind of difficulty. The gatehouse number is 557 5509.
 
FRIENDS GET-TOGETHER
WESSA ( Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), with whom Friends of Rietvlei is affiliated, is holding a Friends get-together, hosted by Friends of Lion's Head, at the Fresnaye Sports Club on 3 December, from 10:00 to 13:30. This is a good opportunity to find out what other friends groups are doing, and also to feel part of a big network of people making a difference for the environment. There will be a bring and share picnic. Phone Pat on 557-3748 for confirmation and more details.
 
NEWS FROM THE RESERVE
Cassy has added 61 specimens to our herbarium collection. They can be seen in our Education Centre.
It's snake season now so people should have numbers for snake handlers and snake bite victims : Snake handlers: 082 826 1518, Snake wrangler: 082 550 5853, Paramedics: 0800 225 599 (We've already been called out for two snakes).
A skaapsteker snake was found dead in Milnerton Ridge. A local resident brought it to the office for identification and it has now been preserved for the Education Centre as it was in good condition. The Rhombic Skaapsteker ( Psammophylax rhombeatus) is a common medium sized, diurnal snake found in the Western Cape in a variety of habitats. It is pale olive in colour with a double vertebral row of irregular black spots and a row of much larger spots down each side. It eats mainly amphibians and lizards, but can take small mammals. It lays up to 30 eggs in mid to late summer. It may bite if proviked but its venom is of no consequence to man.
A contractor with a team of 10 labourers has been funded by the Storm-Water Dept to work at Rietvlei. Their main tasks will be to clear out water hyacinth, excessive reed growth, litter etc from storm-water channels entering Rietvlei., as well as the Diep River. They have also been used to tidy up the newly graded road that lies on the edge of the north vlei.
A similar team has also been appointed for Zoarvlei, to keep that clear of aquatic weeds and litter.
Have you spotted the new Coastcare signs that have gone up in the coastal sections of Rietvlei? Look for them at the Lagoon Mouth, Lagoon bank near the canoe club, and at the entrance to the beach just north of Sunset Beach. They are eye-catching and informative.
There have been NO school groups visiting Rietvlei during October. Two are scheduled for this month. Please encourage any teachers or schools, youth or interest groups that you know or have contact with, to visit Rietvlei. The contact number is 557 7564 for bookings. There is also a brochure available titled “Rietvlei Education Centre” that you can use to promote the centre.
 
NEWS FROM BLAAUWBERG CONSERVATION AREA
The Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area (BCA) will be hosting a walk on the planned "disability route" at Eerste Steen on Saturday 19th November at 8:00am. Whilst walking a general cleanup of the area will take place. As this is the last event of the year please bring a picnic and join the committee members for a brunch after the walk. Please feel free to contact me should you have any queries. Cindy Welch, Secretary: Friends of BCA, 084 9201160
There is a planned re-enactment of the Battle of Blaauwberg (which happened in 1806) scheduled for 7-9 January 2006. The event is being planned by the Battle of Blaauwberg Heritage Society (BBHS) and promises to be spectacular! The Friends of BCA are assisting and anyone who would like to find out more or assist can contact Ronel Alberts on 083-474-1208 or (work) 021-888-3829 or (home) 021-553-2479.
AS THIS IS THE LAST NEWSLETTER FOR THE YEAR WE WISH ALL OUR MEMBERS A WONDERFUL AND SAFE FESTIVE SEASON. MANY THANKS GO TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE SUPPORTED OUR ACTIVIES AND CONSERVATION EFFORTS DURING THE YEAR.
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU AT OUR LAST FEW FUNCTIONS FOR THE YEAR AND THEN AGAIN IN 2006.
 The Committee  
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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