I usually head to the beach for my yearly vacation… but it seems frogs in Paardevlei head to the dam!
Did you know that frogs are the most threatened group of animals on the planet? And according to Frog Friends, a community group preserving frog communities migrating in Paardevlei, one out of every three species of these little guys are facing extinction. Faced with the horror of thousands and thousands of migrating Platanna frogs being killed each year by cars, this group jumps into action to ensure the frogs’ safe passage over the highway to the dam.
As an Aussie and being new to the area, I had no idea there were so many conservation startups run by locals living in the Helderberg region…and Frog Friends is just one of many!
A Conservationist by trade, I’ve recently come onboard Oceaneers to help Kaspar and crew launch our first ever satellite community, right here in Gordon’s Bay. Thinking about getting the ball rolling by staging an event, I searched for other organisations in the area that are leading the way in marine conservation… and that’s when I stumbled upon the Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement (HOAM) and its awesome founder, Lisa Starr.
You can usually find Lisa on Strand Beach calling out dog walkers or fishermen crossing boundaries into the Helderberg Marine Protected Area (MPA). She’s made massive impacts in the Helderberg region, rallying council members and locals to take protecting our nature reserves and MPA’s seriously. With a strict zero tolerance approach to plastic pollution, Lisa is a loud voice in the community. Just the person to collaborate with!
And so the idea of ‘An Evening of Conservation’ was born. An event to amplify the voices in our community that are out there making absolute waves! We wanted to help spread the word of what is being done in the local conservationist community. So many people working quietly behind the scenes and too many people not aware of what is being done and how they too can help. Six weeks and lots of hard work later it all came together.
Oceaneers Gordon’s Bay Community Manager – Maddie kicking off the evening.
Lisa from Heldeberg Ocean Awareness Movement
Oceaneers founder, Kaspar, saying a few words.
On the day, the wind blowing us inside, The Strand Lifesaving Club opened their doors and the evening began with a special performance by local drumming legends Drumba Rhythm for Life. It was very cool to see Kaspar and partner Eva join in on the drumming.
Dancing along to the drumming reverberating against the wind, kids were entertained with face painting by Chantal from Remedy Art. That’s when they weren’t trying their hands…and bodies…at kids yoga with Katherine from Mindful Movements. The wind threw a definite spanner in the works and we all expected to see kids sailing off in the distance practicing their eagle or butterfly poses. We had to cancel our favourite local fire dancers, The Lit Monkeys and Fire & Flow Studio, but they promised to join us next time, wind permitting.
How could it not have been a success with the lineup of wonderful guest speakers? Our very own Kaspar, Lisa from HOAM, and Steven Louw from Lourens River Conservation Society were joined by Sara Waries from Sharkspotters, Willene from Somerset West Bird Club, and Tamaryn from Hout Bay Seal Rescue. Michelle Soekoe from Reel Science Co. blew our minds with the many important science updates about the ongoing research and conservation projects in the MPA and False Bay.
And of course Tiff from Frog Friends fascinated us with facts such as the one mentioned earlier. After her fascinating but also heartbreaking talk, we decided to hold an impromptu fundraiser which we presented to Tiff and her son at the end of the evening. We finished off with a screening of the beautiful film Hluleka by Stellenbosch University student and environmental justice activist, Jamila Janna.
Steven Louw from Lourens River Conservation Society
Tiffany from Frog Friends
A group of local conservationists gathering inside the Strand Life Saving Club
Not only was it amazing to have so many incredible local organisations represented in one evening, we also highlighted local shops and brands. Massive thanks to Rupa from Atma Cafe for providing yummy plant based Indian cuisine, to Kobus Van Zyl from Strand’s favourite coffee van Bean Spoiled Coffee for keeping us warm with coffee and chai latte hits, the gorgeous eco friendly products of Kindly Living, and Gram Plastic Free Grocer and their plastic free bulk goodies. Joined by Herbiraw and your delicious plant-based salmun (I almost devoured an entire jar in one night), Circular Homes with their Bokashi composting displays and Remedy Art, whose nature inspired pieces brightened up the room.
A special thank you to all involved.
From left to right: Tiffany Schultz, Steven Louw, Jamila Janna , Willene van der Merwe, Maddie Rasmussen
Oceaneers is a community-driven initiative created by two ocean lovers who wanted to inspire others to see that the biggest positive impact they could make to ocean sustainability was to change their food choices.
© 2018 Oceaneers.For.Life