Written by Catherine Browne
When one thinks of being a member of an NGO such as the BotSoc, there are a number of stereotypes or associations that come to mind- perhaps you may think you need to be a botanist, or a certain demographic or even know loads about plants, earn a certain amount….the list could go on. The truth is anyone can become a member.
Here’s the thing, the Botanical Society of South Africa has been around for over 100 years and attracted like-minded civil citizens with an interest and passion for nature. Not much has changed and in the same breath I’ll say a lot has changed. BotSoc is about environmental awareness, conservation, passion sharing, and making a difference. If any of these draw your attention then why not look into having a BotSoc membership.
If you care about biodiversity or perhaps have just heard that there’s something pretty cool about our country’s rich natural heritage- you too can play a role in safeguarding it. Yes, membership has a cost involved, but it’s very worthwhile. If you compare the cost of an annual membership and roughly divide it into what you may benefit, it’s a no-brainer giveaway. Looking at the price of entertainment these days, let’s say going to the movies, you could be paying anything around R60 per person for 2 hours. BotSoc membership can offer hours of entertainment, including visits to gardens, reading materials, volunteer opportunities, outings and activities, seeds to plant, friends to hang out with. I think you get where I’m going with this, it’s well worth it. And in addition to all the great gains you get, Mother Nature gains too and you get that warm feel-good feeling of belonging to a network, or family if you will, working together for conservation and our natural biodiversity.
Many who will see this blog, perhaps on our other social media platforms, are already members and so I need not preach to the converted but for those of you who may be unaware let me quickly share just some of the great benefits of becoming a BotSoc member:
- Support environmental education and awareness, and you too can learn
- Contribute to biodiversity conservation– remember there are different ways of contributing: through action, donation, involvement, awareness
- Support outreach and greening initiatives
- Enjoy FREE entrance to all SANBI National Botanical Gardens (there are currently 10 dotted around the country- We’ll share with you about these gardens in a future blog I’m sure)- perfect for little escapes from the hustle and bustle of life, great safe spaces for kids, peaceful spaces for all ages, great areas to host get togethers and more
- Receive the Society’s quarterly Veld & Flora magazine– full of interesting content on a range of topics, and information about what the BotSoc is up to all around the country
- Dive into our online magazine, Botanical– more fun and interesting content, great competitions with awesome prizes up for grabs, tutorials on crafts and activities, downloadable images, events calendars and more
- Access to free seed (SA residents only and T&Cs apply)- get your green fingers going and get active in the garden planting gorgeous indigenous varieties
- Volunteer opportunities– great ways to get involved, learn new skills and information, meet new people, share with others. Give back to Mother Nature
- Branch events and activities– opportunities to socialise with like-minded people and make new friends
- Discounts at participating outlets
So this is reading like a well-oiled wheel, or so I hope anyway. But now that you have the ins and outs, I have been thinking that it is probably best to hear from some members themselves…. Over future blogs we hope to share member stories and experiences (hence this blog’s title reading as ‘Part 1’- if you’d like to share with us your membership story or a comment on being a BotSoc member please email me.
So after reading this, I do hope that I’ve convinced you that a BotSoc membership is a splendid idea. And what’s more, you can gift a membership too. So do keep this in mind with upcoming special days, birthdays, etc. or perhaps purchase a membership as a giveaway/ prize at your next corporate event or school function perhaps. A lasting, multifaceted and meaningful gift anyone would be lucky to receive.
Here’s the how: There are a number of ways you can sign up:
- Join Online
- Pop in at the BotSoc Head Office, based in Kirstenbosch NBG, Cape Town. Mon.-Thur. 08h30-16h30 Fri. 08h30-16h00. Closed daily 13h00-14h00.
- If you cannot reach anyone at Head Office, pop in at either of the BotSoc bookshops at Kirstenbosch (Gates 1 or 2)
- If in Gauteng, you can pop in at the Walter Sisulu NBG
- You can email or call the office to assist you on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 21 797 2090
We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into the BotSoc family.