Constantia valley groups in running for eco awards

Nature Connect River Ambassadors hard at work at Doordrift greenbelt last month.

Several Constantia valley organisations and individuals are in the running for plaudits in the Enviropaedia Eco-Logic Awards, on Wednesday November 3.

Among them are Westlake-based Nature Connect River Ambassadors; the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET), which recently changed its name to Nature Connect; and the Greater Cape Town Water Fund, located in Tokai.

The awards were established in 2011 to recognise beneficial products, services and people helping to protect the environment. The event is being held online for a second time because of Covid-19.

Held in conjunction with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, or COP 26, taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, the awards, according to their director, David Parry-Davies, will sound an urgent call for action against climate change.

Entries opened in March with submissions across 11 categories being judged by a panel of industry professionals.

“It is tough to select the final winners because so many of them are doing such amazing work in creating innovative solutions to our environmental challenges. We feel honoured to give them a platform and showcase their successful efforts,” says Mr Parry-Davies.

Nominated for the water conservation category, Louise Stafford, director of the Greater Cape Town Water Fund, says they are honoured to be nominated. This private-public partnership aims to improve water security by deploying a specialised rope access team to remove invasive pines, gum and wattle from 54 300 hectares, including four wetlands in seven rugged mountain catchments that are upstream from four dams serving the greater Cape Town area.

In its first two years it has created 474 green jobs and cleared invasive plants from 19 000 hectares. By 2045, their actions hope to yield 100 billion litres of water per year, equivalent to one third of Cape Town’s current annual supply.

In the nature conservation category, Nature Connect CEO Dr Anthony Roberts says they believe in helping people to be stewards of the natural world through learnerships and job-readiness training.

Also in the running for the nature conservation category is Constantia-based Cape Leopard Trust for its Snare Aware project.

“Illegal hunting using wire snares indiscriminately harms both domestic animals and wildlife, which affects the entire ecosystem,” says the NGO’s spokeswoman Jeannie Hayward.

“We are fortunate that wild leopards roam in the Western Cape and this should be celebrated and safeguarded, but snaring is endangering their survival. The aim of our Snare Aware project was to investigate the extent of wire snaring in the Boland region, remove snares from the landscape, and educate and inspire communities to integrate snare patrols into farm management.

“The successes we achieved along with a desire to create greater awareness about snaring motivated us to apply for the awards. As a small NGO, being selected as a finalist is encouraging and motivating.”

Chic Mamas Do Care was nominated in the Eco-Fashion and Lifestyle category. Abigel Sheridan founded the organisation in Constantia 11 years ago.

“We are delighted and honoured to be recognised for our efforts,” she says. “This award would mean a lot to us, and the nomination is a reflection on our passionate team and volunteers, our caring community and the rise of awareness in environmental issues, especially when it comes to sustainable fashion. This non-profit has donated over R8.3 million towards vital educational development projects in neighbouring townships.”

Visit to watch the awards between 2pm and 5pm.

Alungile Mayekiswa is one of 40 women high angle technicians working in remote mountains clearing invasive pines on steep slopes with the Greater Cape Town Water Fund.
Chic Mamas Do Care has donated over R8.3 million towards vital educational development projects in neighbouring townships and was founded by Abigel Sheridan 11 years ago.
Cape Leopard Trust’s Snare Aware project is nominated under the Nature Conservation category.