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Our Members Using the New Fire Trailers February/ March 2011




Thorntree Conservancy becomes a member of the Midvaal Fire Protection Association November 2010


At a recent meeting of the Midvaal Fire Protection Association  II held at the Meyerton Fire Station on the 8th November 2010 notification was given that we as an FPA have officially been registered with Pretoria. It was also noted and agreed on that a new Sector (Sector 7) be created and that it would include Thorntree Conservancy, Apple Orchards and Sunset Conservancy located in De Deur.

There was also great excitement when the Executive Mayor of Midvaal, Clr Timothy Nast officially handed over the brand spanking new fire carts.  Two new carts were received by Sector 7 and one by Sector 5, which includes the Welverdiend Triangle Conservancy (W.T.C.) and the Welverdiend Forum (W.F.) area’s east of Meyerton and which were previously part of Sector 2. The fourth trailer was handed to Roxie Du Toit from the Kliprivier Suikerbosrand Conservancy

The Gauteng Conservancy and Stewardship Association feel that as a now registered and official organization the Midvaal FPA II through partnerships with ourselves, Midvaal Fire Management, Working on Fire and various Government Departments will now better allow us to work hand in hand as regards fire management and the control of our environment.  It has been a long and sometimes difficult walk over the last 6 years, but we, as representatives of Midvaal conservancies and Gauteng  conservation are now very optimistic and look forward to a successful fire season in Midvaal in 2011




Thorntree Conservancy receives prestigious award from the South African National Parks 2007

On Monday the 22nd of May Thorntree Conservancy received the Merit Award in the Category Community Contribution at the  Kudu award ceremony held in Pretoria


The Kudu Awards event is meant to recognise contribution by individuals and institutions to conservation management at two levels, i.e. SAN Parks staff members and external role players and stakeholders in different categories

This year marks the third year for the Kudu Awards ceremony, since inception in 2005. It is a fact of a real dream coming true for SAN Parks management and staff because this event is intended to be the premier event on SAN Parks’ annual calendar of events; and it is slowly, but surely becoming one. This event is of course meant to celebrate the successes and the contributions of individuals and groups in conservation management in this country and also plays a significant role in the conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage, thus protecting South Africa’s most valuable national assets.. It is indeed for this reason why this event is so important to all of us in the family of SANParks. We however recognise the fact that we do not have the monopoly on conservation management as SAN Parks, but there are other role players out there like most of you who are here. It is precisely for your role in conservation that we saw it necessary to request you to come and join us in this celebration and we therefore would like to congratulate all of you.

Dr David Mabunda
Chief Executive SANParks




Thorntree Conservancy Receives Three Awards

On Saturday the 12 of May the Gauteng Conservancy Association held their AGM and annual award ceremony. Awards are given to top performing  Conservancies in  three Categories,

The Four Frogs: Best wetland Rehabilitation in a Gauteng Conservancy,

Biodiversity Award: Best Biodiversity practice in a Gauteng Conservancy ,

Meerkat Award: Best General practice in a Gauteng Conservancy

The winners are Judged by the different working groups from the Endangered Wildlife Trust

Biodiversity Award returns to Thorntree Conservancy


Carol Donachie receiving the award

The Biodiversity Award Gold (Best Biodiversity practice in a Gauteng Conservancy) has been awarded to Thorntree conservancy for the second time .Thorntree Conservancy is doing a great job of addressing a great variety of issues within their conservancy simultaneously. These cover biophysical, social/cultural and economic enhancement of their immediate area, by trying to sustain the balance, in addressing larger pressures rather than focussing on one species. In such a way, Thorntree Conservancy adds much more value too advocating what conservancies ultimately are all about. Wise management, care and protection of the land which has been entrusted to you for the present and future generation’s usage and enjoyment.

Thorntree Conservancy and Cullinan Conservancy received  the Bronze Award


Joan Du Toit from Cullinan and Terry Scott from Thorntree receiving the bronze award

The Meerkat Award 2007 Best General practice in a Gauteng Conservancy .Both Cullinan and Thorntree Conservancy show a great variety of projects involving the surrounding communities as well as some projects aimed at children. We could not put one ahead of the other as both are deserving of a bronze.




Special Commendations 2007
Thorntree Conservancy

Thorntree Conservancy applied for all three awards and is a very strong candidate in all. However, in comparing it to the other candidates in the Wetlands category, we felt they were at a distinct advantage as an already established conservancy and therefore set the criteria at a higher standard for this Gauteng Conservancy. We would like to commend their continued vigilance in protecting their wetlands, as demonstrated in the toxic waste incident described.




SAPS care about our Biodiversity 2007


On Sunday afternoon the 28th of January the De Deur reservists , ward 5 councillor Rob Jones and members of the Thorntree Conservancy did a follow up on a previous cleanup they had done close to the De Deur/Walkerville landfill site. 50 bags of rubbish and other dumped rubbish including a mattress ,canopies and masonite were collected. We are starting to make a serious dent in the rubbish on that koppie. Our aim is to rehabilitate this site to it’s former status.  This is only possible because our community are so dedicated to retaining our natural heritage.




Toxins in Thorntree hit the headlines December 2006

In the quiet week after Christmas Thorntree committee members discovered about two tons of extremely toxic Sodium Fluoro Silicate dumped in bags in the Walkerville landfill site.  Urgent calls to GDACE, and to DWAF  went unheeded – everyone was on leave.  Finally experts from the Spillage Unit from Vereeniging came to Thorntree’s assistance, cordoned off the site and warned residents not to go near it because of the danger of contact with the toxin.  "We were even warned that breathing in fumes given off by the substance could be extremely dangerous," said Ivan Parkes, Thorntree’s chairman.


When the media got wind of the situation Ivan was bombarded with interviews.  It was main news for a week on Radio 702 and eTV, Jacaranda, SAfm, Beeld, Mail & Guardian and several other media also covered the situation.

Unfortunately the crisis was made much worse by the use of bulldozers to collect the bags, which broke open and spread even further.  “When it started raining our main fear was that the stuff would leach into the underground water – we’re all on boreholes in this area,” said Ivan.  “We have the details of the dumpers and action will be taken.  This is a disgusting display of irresponsibility and we intend ensuring that whoever did this will be prosecuted.   To date the cost of clearing the landfill, finding a suitable site and doing water tests is approaching R500 000.”

Tests showed that the toxins did not get into the underground water, much to the relief of residents.




Thorntree Clean Up 8 July 2006


We got together at 0930 at the entrance to the Conservancy and started cleaning up the road verges. We managed to do about 3km.The Amount of rubbish in this short distance is mind boggling. 62 Plastic bags were filled. These cleanups are not only for the children We need the participation of the moms and dads also. A lot of fun and laughter was all part of the day.




The Mail And Guardian Greening the Future 2006 Merit Award For Environmental best practice in not for profit organisation Thorntree Conservancy

Care starts on the Doorstephorntree Clean Up 8 July 2006




Thorntree Conservancy Wins Endangered Wildlife Trust Biodiversity Award 2006

Best Biodiversity practice in a Gauteng Conservancy Trophy Sponsored by the Endangered Wildlife Trust EWT


The judges felt that Thorntree demonstrated passion and an excellent commitment to biodiversity conservation. The development of a sustainable utilisation project, using local plants to create employment opportunities and to supply the muthi trade is applauded. Extensive species lists are essential for biodiversity inventorying and conservation and the conservancy is actively working to conserve some of its varied threatened species. A variety of important biomes exist in the conservancy and interaction with other conservancies, local councils, schools and communities is strong. The “no-go” area for off-road vehicles is also an important feature of the conservancy in the presence of highly sensitive species.




Thorntree Receives a Bronze award for best practice in rehabilitating a wetland 2006


Good assessment of the value, and features of their wetlands and efforts to conserve them. Good interactions with local councils, other conservancies and the public. We particularly liked the efforts to establish a sustainable use component using local plants.




Drat!  Thorntree does it again

At the recent Conservancy Fun Run in Cullinan, Thorntree Conservancy walked off with the Hardekool Floating Trophy for having brought the largest team of participants.  Pressed for an explanation, Thorntree’s Ivan Parkes was forced to confess that the numbers were made possible by the generosity of their local estate agent, Keith Brown, who sponsored the kids from the local ABC Kids’ Home.

There were prizes galore for the 70-odd runners.  “There’s more fun than funds in such an event,” said Joan du Toit, Cullinan’s chairperson, when she thanked her team for their help in organizing this successful programme.  “But it’s worth it in terms of community spirit”.  GCA committee members all turned up in support but didn't win any prizes.  (Actually, they didn't even run...)




Giant African Bullfrog

The Giant African Bullfrog Has Been Seen in the Conservancy Thorntree Conservancy is presently participating in a Bullfrog survey




Tree Society Finds Plants on Red Data list

More Info to Follow




Red Data butterflies found in conservancy

A most exiting find! Butterflies on the Red Data list have been found in Thorntree Conservancy

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