Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter January 2006
A BRAND NEW YEAR
Well, almost. 2006 is a month old as this is being written this, and “normal” life has probably resumed for most people. The Committee wishes the members of Friends of Rietvlei and their nearest and dearest everything of the best for 2006, with a year filled with your ACTIVE involvement!!
 
EVENING TALKS
Our final Evening Talk for 2005 was held on Thursday 17th November. It was well supported and the student's reported on their projects for 2005. If you wish to read their projects, there are printouts in the Environmental Centre. They are well worth reading.
Our first Evening Talk for 2006 will be held on 23 February and will be on “The Bygone Years of Rietvlei”. So come along at 19:30 for 20:00 , and if you have not been before, you are most welcome, and you may bring guests if you wish. Join us for refreshments and a chat before the talk. The evening will include the showing of some historic videos.
 
INSECT COLLECTION
Our insect collection has been further added to with some new specimens. It will continue to be expanded through the year as the seasons change. So next time you are in the Environmental Centre make sure you have a look. There is a new magnifying glass for you to look through donated by Ray Mason.
 
OPEN DAY
We are going to resume our Open Days once the rains start and there is more to see. So, as they say, watch this space! Members of Friends of Rietvlei are, of course, welcome to walk to the bird hide to observe the bird-life at any time. We are in the process of organising membership cards for members who wish to enter the reserve for walking or bird-watching, to make it easier for you to enter at the gate. Should you be keen to get a membership card please contact Pauline on 557 6920 a/h or send an email to us ( see details on letterhead)
 
FUND-RAISING
We are planning to host a play evening at the Milnerton Playhouse towards the end of March. The Milnerton Players are putting on two short plays: The Public Eye/The Private Ear. More details will be given in the next newsletter. However we would really like some of our members to volunteer to assist the committee with this fun venture. A few hours of your time will be well rewarded. Please contact Pauline on 557 6920 a/h or send an email to us. Surprise the committee with an enthusiastic response!!!
 
STUDENTS FOR 2006
Once again the reserve has the services of three 3rd year nature conservation students from CPUT: Chantel, Arno and Tracey. We welcome them and hope that they have a fruitful, productive and successful year. We are hoping to hear their first report-back in June. They will be supervised by Koos Retief, the reserve manager. Also new to Rietvlei are three staff members of the now-closed City of Cape Town abattoir. They had the chance to be re-deployed and took the opportunity to come to Rietvlei. They will provide very necessary additional manpower ( yes they are all men!) for the reserve.
 
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Advance warning of our AGM: it will be held on Thursday 4 May at 19:30. More details will be given nearer the time but write it in your diary NOW!
 
SCOUT VOLUNTEERS
Andrew van den Honert (grandson of Robert & Audrey, great nephew of Ruby) is working towards his Springbok Scout Award and is undertaking his community project at Rietvlei, working on Friends of Rietvlei projects. We are really most fortunate to benefit from 40 hours of work from six scouts under Andrew's able guidance. Their first stint was on 28 & 29 January. They completely resealed all the outdoor wood-work on our Education Centre. They cleared the overgrown grass to make way for paving to the entrance of the centre and they got to grips with using tree-poppers. They tree-popped alien Port Jackson re-growth along the fire- break and east of the cabin. They will be spending more days at Rietvlei over the next few weeks continuing with their tasks. THANK YOU, ANDREW AND TEAM.
 
CHEVRON REFINERY
Whilst Caltex Refinery have been getting some bad press lately we can report on a positive action. Through interaction with Caltex ( now Chevron but most people continue to call them “Caltex”) staffers Roy Wright and Phumi Nhlapo on the Rietvlei Management Working Group, the issue of pampas grass being an aggressive invader of wetlands arose. It was brought to Roy and Phumi's attention that the refinery was harbouring these prolific seeders around their detention ponds close to Koeberg Road . During windy conditions the seeds are blown far and wide and mostly in the direction of Rietvlei and the Diep River . Chevron Refinery made a commitment to remove the grass and a contractor company, Henchem, recently applied herbicide to the problem plants These died back and they then cut back all the dead material. It is hoped that suitable indigenous plants will replace the alien invaders.
So if you, or your neighbours and friends are harbouring pampas grass follow Chevron's lead and get them removed. There are lots of interesting indigenous restios that would make good replacement plants.
Please feel free to contact us on any matter. Our e-mail address is at the top of this newsletter as is our website address if you want additional information or to read past newsletters. An additional e-mail address is info@friendsofrietvlei.net. Please get involved!!!
Thanks still go to Caltex Refinery for sponsoring envelopes for the posted newsletter.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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