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HORTICULTURE AND LIFE SKILLS COLLEGE

Established in 2003, our Green Futures Horticulture and Life Skills College provides educational training to 8-12 unemployed young adults each year. We aim to give our student candidates the skills and confidence necessary to market themselves and become employable, while at the same time contributing to the conservation and promotion of our region’s unique biodiversity.

The fully accredited (AGRISeta) course combines essential life skills like personal finance, business skills, computers, driving and health education with knowledge of environmental and conservation issues, and skills of horticulture and landscaping.

On completion of their course, the students are awarded a nationally (SETA) accredited certificate in horticulture and are assisted in work placement. Successful students can also apply for a second year of tuition in (FGASA) field guiding level 1. 

Since its inception, over 118 young people have graduated, and more than 90% of graduates have found employment on completion of the course.

HOSPITALITY & TOURISM TRAINING

Green Futures Hospitality and Tourism Training is a 6 month grassroots programme based on the internationally acclaimed online hospitality and tourism training programme of Lobster Ink.

Up to 12 carefully recruited candidates from the local community work through 5 in-depth levels of training over 30 weeks in conjunction with practical on-site training with assigned mentors in the Grootbos lodges.

Over and above the 5 levels of theory and practicals, the Foundation supplements the course content with computer skills, life skills, business acumen skills and a language skills component to ensure candidates receive a well-rounded and thorough level of training.

The hospitality training programme addresses the need for training opportunities in the area and supplies accredited candidates for professional placement to the local industry. Over and above placement, candidates receive ongoing mentorship from the Green Futures College should they decide to set up their own micro-enterprises.

This programme addresses the empowerment of the local women of the community by enabling them to generate their own income. This programme speaks to the Grootbos Foundation ethos of building active citizenship and sustainable livelihoods.

 

INDIGENOUS FYNBOS NURSERY

Green Futures students also work at the on site Green Futures Nursery, learning to propagate endemic fynbos plants and indigenous trees. The nursery is run as a commercial enterprise and brings in an income for the foundation. It also has an indigenous landscaping team, offering its services to local municipalities as well as private concerns.

WALKER BAY FYNBOS CONSERVANCY

The Grootbos Foundation works closely with property owners and stakeholders throughout the Walker Bay region to preserve its unique biodiversity. In 1999 The Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy was created as a means to actively protect the region’s fynbos. The conservancy is comprised of 15 000 hectares of land, and sees the collective pooling of resources of Grootbos and its neighbouring landowners to further the conservation of fauna and flora in the area.
This inspiring co-operative project won the Iris Darnton Award for International Nature Conservation at the 2001 Whitley Awards in London.
Read more at www.fynbos.co.za

FUTURE TREES

In 2006 a devastating fire destroyed large areas of ancient Milkwood forest found on Grootbos. The Future Trees Project was created with the aim of rehabilitating the afflicted areas, as well as other unique forested sections on the reserve.

A scientifically devised forest rehabilitation project, not merely a tree planting exercise, our innovative approach is to use the earliest aerial photographs (1937) from the region and to compare the extent of the current forest to earlier sizes. From this we developed our planting plan to restore forests to resemble their previous incarnations. The trees used are grown in our own nursery to ensure local genetic sources are maintained. Indigenous trees, including White Milkwood, White Stinkwood, Pock Ironwood and Wild Olive are propagated in our indigenous nursery.

Since 2008 we have planted 3310 indigenous trees through the programme. In 2013 we planted 385 - more than one a day!

If you would like to donate money towards a tree planting (R350 per tree) please click here.

ALIEN VEGETATION

In conjunction with planting trees endemic to the region, we strive to eradicate alien vegetation in the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy. Thus far, more than R1.2 million has been sourced from the Department of Environmental Affairs for the successful execution of this project. These funds are administered by the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative and are utilised for ongoing clearing of exotic invasive trees species from Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and surrounding properties. Sixty-one previously unemployed people from communities in the area are currently employed in this project, and 5 474 hectares of land were cleared in 2015 alone. This success means that we will be able to replicate the project in ensuing years.

ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH

Our 2500 hectare Grootbos Private Nature Reserve falls under the Cape Floristic Kingdom, smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, which covers only 91 000 square km (0.04% of the earth’s surface). We are actively involved in conserving the Cape Floralistic Kingdom - a UNESCO world heritage site - through ecological research conducted on the Grootbos reserve by our Conservation Manager, Sean Privett, and his team.

In 1997 we established checklists to keep a record of all the flora and fauna found on the reserve. These form the basis of our conservation management plan, which we update as new information emerges. Our latest Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and other articles can be downloaded below: 

Grootbos Private Nature reserve is situated on the Agulhas Plain in the heart of the Cape fynbos lowlands. To date, more than 765 species of endemic fynbos have been documented growing here ­­- six of which are newly discovered species, previously unknown to science.

The aim of our foundation is to go beyond simply fencing off areas for floral reserves; we realise that the long-term survival of this unique habitat depends upon simultaneously assisting local communities to recognise the region’s conservation value (and to engender a conservation ethic among them) and secondly, to create jobs which can sustain them (predominantly in the fields of ecotourism and indigenous landscaping).

We are integrally involved in the continued conservation and restoration of the flora and fauna of Waker Bay region as a whole. We are passionate about showcasing this amazing part of the world and educating both local residents and the world about its value.

Early Childhood Development Centres

The Grootbos Foundation has joined forces with Takalane, Good Hope and Masakhane Early Childhood Development centres in Masakhane to assist them in implementing key governance and administration practices to enable them to register with the Department of Social Development. The Foundation identifies the need to help and support working parents with safe, fun, educational child care options.

The Grootbos Foundation assistance will potentially reach 160 children in the community and assist the centres in attracting much needed funding both from the government departments and other sources of funding. In the first six months alone, we are facing a funding gap of R 70 000 needed to upgrade the three buildings to pass the Department of Social Development and security requirements to keep the children in safe and secure environments whilst their parents are at work.

We are excited to be involved in this challenging space and are looking forward to working with these centres to get them operating optimally.

Green Corridor Initiative

The Agulhas Plain has long been recognised as a biodiversity hotspot and region of international conservation significance.  It is home to a significant percentage of the remaining critically endangered Elim ferricrete fynbos as well as significant areas of critically endangered and highly diverse Overberg sandstone fynbos and vulnerable Agulhas limestone fynbos. These threatened vegetation types occur predominantly on private properties (over 90%) and are threatened by the spread of exotic invasive tree species, illegal ploughing for agriculture, over-harvesting of wild flowers and too frequent fires. 

The focus of this initiative is to link the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy with the Agulhas National Park through high conservation priority private land, to create a green conservation corridor encompassing 52 000 kilometers.

The preparatory groundwork includes a flora and fauna survey ground truthing the critically endangered Elim ferricrete fynbos, close interaction with conservation partners and consultation with landowners to explore their commitment and participation.

The corridor has the potential to produce tangible positive conservation results for a highly threatened and vulnerable region.