Friends of the Liesbeek has just returned from a successful trip to Pretoria for the 2017 Eco-Logic Awards. The annual awards are hosted by Enviropaedia, a South African environmental encyclopaedia and networking platform that promotes social and environmental sustainability. The awards are held in order to recognise organisations which represent ‘eco-logic’ values. The categories which FoL were nominated for were, the Biodiversity and Eco-Community awards. Represented by project manager, Conor Eastment and Liesbeek maintenance project(LMP) team supervisor Mncekelekeli Klaas the organisation walked away with silver awards for both categories. With a judging panel including government officials from the department of environmental affairs and respected professionals in the environmental field, these awards can be considered a great privilege.
A big congratulations is, therefore, required for all members of the Liesbeek community. Our organisation, founded in the early 90’s has been hard at work restoring and maintaining ecological functioning of the urban Liesbeek river, none of this would be possible without an active community. From the related friends groups of Paradise Park, Rosebank and Mowbray Greenbelt, WESSA, City of Cape Town, SANBI, the Two Rivers Urban Park Association, previous river managers, committee members and volunteers to corporate support from Omni HR consulting, Tuffy and principal funders in ABAX and SAB, our strength lies in the diversity of supporters.
However, our work does not only include ecological restoration. The LMP team, supervised by Mncekelekeli Klaas, are employed on a full time basis to complete this hard work. They are currently enrolled in an environmental practices certificate at Omni HR Consulting in order to ensure that the members are empowered through employment as well as education. The team has been able to practice what they have learnt through FoL’s environmental education portfolio. They have been involved in the facilitation of school outings and corporate volunteer days. Some examples include a recent clean up and tree planting with SAB on World Environment day and hosting the Round Square schools adventure day. It is our aim to ensure that these hard working environmentalists may utilise their time in the LMP team to become catalysts of change in their respective communities. And so, it seemed fitting that the longest standing LMP team member, Klaas joined in on the trip up to Pretoria for his first flight…ever! Thanks to the financial support from ABAX and SAB, we were able to not only go to the awards, but also appreciate some of the historical sights of South Africa through a visit to the Union Buildings, a tour of Freedom Park and walking around the city centre.
Moving forward, we are going to use this accolade as inspiration to strengthen the project and increase it’s positive impact. If we can be successful with 8 team members working along 9km’s of river then imagine what an expansion of the LMP team could achieve!?
Thanks to all of those involved and hopefully see you out on our beautiful river soon.