What a successful day at the annual False Bay Nature Reserve Birdathon – organized by the CTEET in partnership with the City of Cape Town, Birdlife SA and the Cape Bird Club. The weather was perfect – slightly overcast, warm and a light breeze which was marvelous compared to the gale force winds we had last year!

Over 680 children preregistered for the walk, with participants choosing a 4, 5 or 6km fun walk where they learnt about all the birds we have in the Strandfontein section of the False Bay Nature Reserve. Members of CTEET and the Cape Bird Club were stationed along all routes to show children the incredible birdlife in Cape Town and play environmental education games with them. All the children were so keen to get involved and learn about the amazing city we live in.

The False Bay Nature Reserve, one of the 24 nature reserves managed by the City of Cape Town, was declared a Ramsar site in 2015 which is a title offered to Wetlands of International Importance. It is also considered the most important natural resource in the Cape Flats region. The Birdathon is a fantastic event geared toward exposing residents of the surrounding areas to the beautiful nature reserve right on their doorstep.

‘It is always very encouraging for us to see how the local communities in the area embrace the annual Birdathon event and enjoy their natural surroundings within the reserve. Cape Town residents are spoilt for choice when wanting to explore the plant and animal life within the city as we work hard to conserve all the natural areas and biodiversity across the metro’, says the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

There were numerous environmental education exhibits from many NGOs and other organisations in Cape Town including SANCCOB, Cape Bird Club, Sharkspotters, Eagle Encounters, Save our Seas, Birdlife and many more! Each stall had a range of activities to educate the youth at the festival on the environment and what each of them can do in their daily lives to make a real positive impact on the world we live in. All in all, close to 2000 members of the public joined us on the day to enjoy all that the reserve has to offer!

We also had an exciting programme of events on the day – we had Max from the City of Cape Town talking about Smart Living and how to save electricity, followed by a great educational talk about whales and dolphins from Erin at Sea Search, an ocean safety talk from the National Sea Rescue Institute, the Steenberg High School Wind Band played an amazing concert followed by an exciting snake display from the Cape Reptile Club and we ended the day with the Cape Town Metropolitan Police Department and their K9 unit showing off the incredible skills of the dogs who are trained to protect and serve the people of Cape Town.

Our events Coordinator, Vicky Johnson, says that “Our aim with this festival was to educate the youth so that they can become custodians of our natural heritage, to teach them about recycling and saving our natural resources, and to show them the nature reserve and the unique bird life that live in this wetland park. We feel that it was a huge success and that every person at the festival came away having learnt something new. Save the date for next year’s Birdathon – 17th of October 2020.

Photo Credits: Otto Schmidt