The 13th Annual SANParks Kudu Awards ceremony was held on 23 November at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria. These awards recognise conservationists for their contribution to the protection of the environment in South Africa. Fundisile Mketeni, SANParks CEO, says that “these awards honour people for their meaningful contributions to the protection of the environment through various means which reflects society’s admirable social responsibility – giving meaning to the SANParks vision of ‘A Sustainable National Parks System Connecting Society”.
We were honoured to have received two awards on the evening! CEO Dr Anthony Roberts was awarded for Corporate Contribution to Conservation (Non-Profit Organisation) in recognition of the trust’s commitment and wide reach in developing young people and imparting environmental knowledge to communities and schools in Cape Town and surroundings. Through successful, long-term partnerships with local government, nature reserves and the SETAs (Sectoral Education and Training Authority), we been running training and development initiatives for out-of-school youth since 2007. Through these programmes, trained and experienced individuals are entering the green economy, creating the human resources needed to actively conserve our biodiversity. We have also been providing environmental education programmes and camps to the youth of Cape Town since 2001 – introducing children to the wonders of nature and showing them how their actions can have an impact on the environment. Dr Roberts said that “to be acknowledged by SANParks for our work with youth in conservation is an incredible honour and something we will cherish now and into the future.”
Ms Petro Botha, the Manager of the Gantouw Project, received the first ever award for the category Women in Conservation, for “sustainable conservation of fynbos through ground-breaking research on using Eland as a management tool (as opposed to fire) to conserve the vegetation of the Cape Flats.” Ms Botha has successfully led this project for 2 years now, and the eland are fast becoming icons and ambassadors for the area. She regularly introduces school groups to the eland, explaining the importance of Cape Town’s biodiversity and the role the eland are playing. She also manages and mentors the team of full-time eland monitors who work on the project, and are studying towards careers in Nature Conservation.
Ms Botha has shown that women can excel in conservation, as she heads up this successful and unique project which encompasses scientific study, conservation, environmental education, mentorship and leadership.