Conservancy

Why Form a Conservancy?

Unfortunately, there are many that still believe that “nature” belongs only in formally protected areas and nature reserves.  Past environmental ideologies have often focused on the preservation of species with the disturbing result that there are now species to be found in zoological gardens around the world that have very little or no habitat to be reintroduced to!

Many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna are actually to be found outside of formally protected areas on privately-owned land.  We may not have the “Big Five” in the area, but there is a multitude of plants and small creatures to be found that are just as important to conserve.  With irresponsible development and large scale industrial pollution, it is vital that we all help to conserve our natural assets if we and our natural environment are to survive well into the future.

Why St Dunstan’s Conservancy?

The St Dunstan’s Conservancy was established in September 2007 by a group of people, to protect, maintain and restore the area’s health, aquatic and terrestrial habitats and ecosystems through the application of management principles for a range of uses, values and services.  The Conservancy was the second school conservancy in Gauteng.  The current conservancy consists of the entire grounds covered by the school.  The St Dunstan’s Conservancy was registered for the nurturing and establishment of indigenous fauna and flora for the education of the youth and enjoyment of the community.  Negotiations are underway with local council to incorporate the open veld area into the management of the St Dunstan’s Conservancy.

Environmental matters have in the past few years become a major International focus.  Environmental degradation is not something that is seen straight away but the effect is only felt over time.  A quote from an unknown source highlights these concerns:  “The pollution caused today affects the generations to come.  Thus we do not own the earth but are only looking after it for our children and grandchildren.”

Educating the community on environmental matters will assist in either stabilising or reversing the damage.

The conservancy at St Dunstan’s can be used for this purpose and assist the next generation to be more environmentally friendly.

Management Objectives

The management objectives for 2011 are as follows:

  • Increase awareness of stakeholders on conservation matters.
  • Minimise the impact of the conservancy on the use of natural resources
  • Increase health awareness in the school

What has been Completed?

From the start of the conservancy the following environmental issues have been completed in the conservancy area:

  • School has been registered as an Eco School
  • Planting of over 300 indigenous trees
  • Use of only environ-friendly fertilisers
  • Development of a waste recycle yard in the college grounds
  • Clean-up campaigns at the college and pre-schools
  • A vast increase in awareness
  • A weekly “Conservancy” slot in the newsletters
  • Newsletter issued to the local residents
  • Increase in membership to 25 (various category members)
  • Establishment of communication with local councillor and park board
  • Developed communication with “Polish the Jewel”

“TOPS AND TAGS” Wheelchair Initiative

During the first half of the year, the College, Preparatory and Pre-School have distributed seven wheelchairs to those in need of one.  Enough plastic tops and tags have been accumulated to collect another two wheelchairs, bringing the total to nine so far for the year.

The response from the St Dunstan’s community and Benoni community has been outstanding.  Thank you to Tom Newby School, Farrarmere Primary School, family members, friends, Old Dunstonians, Tuks student and past pupil Leigh-Ann Cross who initiated this collection at Zinnia Residence and to all others who are all assisting in collecting for this worthy cause.  Thank you to everyone for your continued support and please continue to bring in the plastic tops and bread tags.  A recipient list is available – please give the details to Joanne Smith at the College office.

The latest wheelchair is going to Kwasa School, the Preparatory partner school in Springs.  Mother Sharron has had a request for a wheelchair for a grandmother of one of the pupils.