Written by Zoë Poulsen
Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their contribution to the conservation, promotion and appreciation of South Africa’s indigenous flora? The call is now open for nomination for BotSoc’s annual honours and awards. The Honours and Awards committee are excited to announce the introduction of four new awards:
The BotSoc Youth Award
Awarded to any young person or groups of youth (under the age of 25) who has/have made a significant contribution, excluding publications, to the conservation and promotion of the indigenous flora of Southern Africa.
The Stella Petersen Education Award
Above: Stella Petersen reminisces with Xola Mkefe
Awarded to any person who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of environmental education which focuses on the flora of Southern Africa. The award is made in honour of Dr Stella Petersen. Her interest in the rich biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Region started at an early age, while exploring the floral treasures of the Cape Flats around Macassar during family holidays.
Following on from achieving multiple degrees at the University of Cape Town (UCT), she went on to achieve a further MSc at the University of Syracuse, USA in science and education. She worked for many years as a tutor in the Zoology Department at UCT and worked alongside Edith Stephens. Upon her retirement she worked as a volunteer garden guide at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town and later joined their Goldfields Education Centre where she continued her work. She was a visionary educator, tireless campaigner for equal rights and an inspiration to countless students.
The Dale Parker Conservation Award
Above: Elandsberg Nature Reserve: Jewel in the crown of biodiversity conservation in the Swartland
The Dale Parker Conservation Award is to be awarded to any private landowner or farmer who, as custodian, undertakes outstanding biodiversity conservation practice on their land.
The award is made in honour of the late Dale Parker, a visionary farmer, businessman and conservationist. He saw himself as a farmer, but his foremost love was for the wild places he encountered as well as their wildlife and flora.
While growing up he spent considerable time on the family farm Elandberg near Wellington. He later took over the property in the 1960s and started to introduce antelope such as eland and springbok to the veld. In 1971 he took the pioneering step of having the wild parts of the farm declared a provincial nature reserve. Today Elandberg Farms is one of the major producers of wheat, wool, meat and game in the Swartland. Meanwhile Elandsberg Nature Reserve conserves an ecologically important stretch of land recognised for its incalculable botanical value. It contains the largest remaining tracts of two highly threatened vegetation types and their associated animal species, including the endangered geometric tortoise. The reserve is home to more than 820 plant species, five of which are endemic to the reserve.
Dale Parker was also a past chairman of the very active and successful Flora Conservation Committee, and did much to ensure its success. He was a committed supporter of BotSoc SA and is appropriately acknowledged in the naming of this award.
The President’s Award
Awarded to branches of BotSoc, both garden and non-garden based. The award will have a monetary value awarded to the branch. This is awarded at the discretion of the Council to the branch whose activities are most in line with the BotSoc’s mission and objectives.
Nominations for awards open on the 1st March 2018 and must be submitted by the closing date of 12:00 noon on 15th May 2018. Application forms for nominations are available from the BotSoc Head Office or can be downloaded from the website http://bit.ly/2BplGA1.