Community News

Graskop Conservancy initiates major clear-up projects

Frieda Paton

Graskop Conservancy organised two major clear-ups during April – one in Graskop and one in Pilgrim’s Rest.  For the foreseeable future, they are planning to do a project in each of the two towns every month.

Plant growth in our area flourished with the good rains, but unfortunately, this includes the alien invasive species that grow prolifically wherever they can put down roots.

In Graskop, a team of nearly 30 people joined in clearing around the police station and towards the taxi rank on April 6. Members of Graskop Conservancy were joined by the High Altitude Team, Working of Fire, and the SA Police Service.  In the end, truckloads of buck weed, brambles, and litter were removed.

In preparation of the tourist influx during the Easter Weekend, a team in Pilgrim’s Rest cleared the historical graveyard and the footpath leading towards it.  The team consisted of members of the Conservancy, Friends of the Pilgrim’s Rest Museum, the SAPS and Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport. Local businesses supported the initiative by providing the team with morning coffee, lunch and biscuits.

Clearing included mowing and trimming the grass, felling and removing black wattle trees, and trimming tree branches that were obstructing pathways and views.

“When we join hands we can make a big difference,” said Samantha van Niekerk, Chairperson of Graskop Conservancy and the main driver behind the projects. “With the major projects coming up, I hope that many more community members will volunteer to make their environments cleaner and safer.” She also thanked the many businesses that helped by donating petrol for the brush cutters, herbicides, and refreshments for the hard-working teams.

Conservancies across the country are registered, community-based, voluntary organisations that aim to promote conservation in their area.  Graskop Conservancy is responsible for improving the ecological, tourism and social environments in Graskop, Pilgrim’s Rest and surrounds.  Various conservation projects are undertaken to protect natural and man-made resources.

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