WC FGASA Meeting Recap

On the 3rd of August, CWBR facilitated the Bi-annual Western Cape FGASA Meeting. The event took place at Drakenstein Groot Games Club, an old cricket ground based just outside of Franschhoek.

With an abundance of rain in the last few weeks, we were lucky to have a day of sunshine and warm weather!

It was yet another great meeting, with familiar and new faces attending the event. Fantastic speakers who came to share their passion and ignite more curiosity in all of us.  CWBR volunteers made delicious potjie and a special cake for tea, a Jordanian family recipe, which became a favorite amongst the attendees.

Three recently graduated FGASA & Life Skills students shared their experience of the course, how it changed their lives and perspectives. They received their Level 1 FGASA certificates from Michelle Du Plessis, FGASA Managing Director.

The three speakers talks tied together extremely well and ignited curiosity and enthusiasm to go exploring in the Western Cape and learn more about the magical world of fynbos, bees, and rock formations.



Patrick Shone

Through his many years of experience, Patrick shared an excellent understanding of integrated fire management, the importance it holds, the effects of fires on the fynbos biome, alien vegetation, surrounding communities, and tourism.

“We live in a highly fragmented landscape, and the challenge now, is to understand fire and its relationship within the ecosystem in order to best be able to manage it for the long-term survival of all existing plants and animals”.

Not practicing Integrated Fire Management risks the loss of biodiversity, spread of aliens’ invader plant species, and reduction in water quality and volume.

Though the impact of fire has several negative effects on tourism, such as decline in wildlife, biodiversity, safety and aesthetics, it does however present an opportunity for community development and outreach, partnerships, and awareness.

Patrick’s talk pinpointed the intricate hard work and understanding that goes into maintaining the fynbos biome and fire management.


Jenny Cullinan

Jenny has researched wild honeybees and the native solitary bees in their natural environment for the past 5 years. She, with two colleagues, started Ujubee. Based mostly in Cape Point Nature Reserve.  Ujubee and its extension, COMB (Caretakers of Mellifera Bees) endeavor to learn from all species of bees in the wild and what they need to be healthy. Often when one thinks of bees, it is about hives and honey. But this is an agricultural perspective. The true wonderment of bees is their wildness and their interconnectedness to their ecology; their choice of natural nesting sites; their use of plant resins for propolis walls and for their nest hygiene; their interaction with all other creatures and with the richness and variety of the fynbos flora.

Passionate about what she does, her talk was captivating, with unique insight and knowledge of the world of bees.

For further reading, beautiful photo’s, and video’s depicting the world of wild bees, check out their blog:



John Rogers

Having an interest in geology since when he was a young man, John shared his knowledge with the humor and ease of a University lecturer, one of the many professions he has had.

His book, published in 2018, takes the reader on a journey throughout the Western Cape, and describes how the different rock formations, koppies, and mountains, formed.

Using his book as the catalyst for the talk, he took everyone on this adventure, showcasing different areas with rock formations, grave sites, important people in history, and the environment surrounding the areas in question.

He also referenced other books, articles, and debates, so for the experienced geologist as well as the amateur with enthusiasm, there was more to investigate. A selection of rocks was available to see and touch.

For those who are interested to pick up a copy of his book, visit: http://www.geoscience.org.za/

To read a review:https://www.wildcard.co.za/geological-adventures-book-review/

Left to right:

Photo 1: There was a lot of buzz about the day’s topics and lecturers over lunch.

Photo 2: Parents of graduate proudly received the certificate in her stead as she is over-landing with Nomad tours, previous graduate received his Cathsseta certificate at the event, and three graduates who received certificates on behalf of the rest of the group.

Photo 3: Pseudoscorpions and bees have a symbiotic relationship. To read the article ‘Swarming Bees and Pseudoscorpions‘ go to Ujubee.com

Celine Macdonald