The Environmental Education Strategic Planning Workshop Report is now available for download.

This report is focused on the outcomes of the first Youth Environmental Education Workshop held at the Environmental Education Centre at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens on the 26th of February 2020. These notes document the outcomes of the workshop which was primarily aimed at mapping the ‘education landscape’ and identifying gaps and needs in youth environmental education in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve domain.

The first workshop invited participants to introduce their organisation and briefly share with the group their education focus  current activities. A second open discussion was facilitated around the gaps and needs in youth environmental education in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve.

A post-workshop survey eliciting participants’ feedback on the workshop yielded positive responses. Comments included:

• Informative, inspiring and “eye opening” • Good, necessary and important! • Productive • Well-structured and well conducted.

Many participants commented on the fair and open discussion where the diverse stakeholders were given a platform to share their programs and exchange ideas. However, one participant offered constructive criticism and wrote, “some key players were absent” and added that some topics were somewhat broad and irrelevant. The participant stated that for future discussions it would be best to narrow the focus in order to be more productive. Other participants highlighted the need to get teachers involved and that the time-slot for the workshop inhibited their participation.

Workshop outcomes – including opportunities and challenges – will need to be revisited given the COVID-19 impacts on education spaces.

VIEW THE OUTCOMES REPORT HERE

The final report for the Strategic Planning Workshop:

“Identifying and addressing drivers of urbanisation, land use and land use change and capacity building in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve” is now available. 

DOWNLOAD / VIEW HERE

This report comes to you in the light of COVID-19 and as the Country remains in lockdown as a result of efforts to stem the impact of the virus on the healthcare system, and inevitably, on the population. In reviewing the report, please also note the following two quotes, the one from our President, Cyril Ramaphosa and the other from Arundhti Roy, author of the book ‘The God of small things’ (1997).

For billions across the world, and for us here in South Africa, the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything.  We can no longer work in the way we have before…as South Africans we will need to adapt to a new reality.  As we emerge from this crisis, our country will need to undergo a process of fundamental reconstruction.

~ President Ramaphosa, April 2020, second address to the nation regarding COVID-19 impacts.

…coronavirus had made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worst than a return to normality…. Pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice…our dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

~ Arundhti Roy, April 2020 (Author of the book ‘The God of small things’ (1997)).

We thank you for post workshop comments which we have hopefully captured successfully in this final report.

We ask that you re-read it in the light of COVID-19. We cannot resume the process of looking at the Garden Route without thinking of a new reality and how we must contribute to it. Please consider how we can prepare to engage the process of land use and land use change and capacity building in the terribly unequal world we are now leaving as we step through the portal Arundhti Roy talks of.

Kind Regards
Robert Fincham
Project Leader

The Western Cape Biosphere Reserve Research Workshop Report 2019 can be viewed here.

This workshop took place on 19th June 2019 and was hosted by the Sustainability Research Unit at Nelson Mandela University, George Campus.

Responding to the challenges brought to light in the 2018 workshop, the SRU hosted a second one-day workshop aimed at developing an inter and transdisciplinary network of working groups for research in the Western Cape biosphere reserves. The 2019 workshop provided a space and process for the coordinated organisation of research working groups, based on, but not limited to the themes that emerged last year. The workshop also provided an opportunity for stakeholders at multiple levels, sectors, and disciplines to engage and communicate with one another and to overcome communication challenges across levels, sectors and fields.

In an attempt to build on the results of the 2018 workshop the desired outcomes of the 2019 workshop were to fertilise a collaborative research network for the biosphere reserves in the Western Cape. Primarily the workshop sets out to 1) encourage the formulation of a network of research working groups by bringing together interested and affected parties to form working groups for each theme; 2) elect co-chairs / champions for each working group; 3) facilitate working group dialogues to determine the scope of each working group; 4) provide a space for the development of Terms of Reference (ToR) for the working group and; 5) Nurture a biosphere-based collaborative research network that will be able to source new funding in the years to come.

Participants in the 2019 workshop reflected on the 2018 themes and pointed out that the themes did not include a space for marine and coastal research. Participants also felt that it was a bit premature to establish formalized working groups. Instead participants engaged around what research working groups could contribute to biosphere reserves and what steps need to take place to establish them.

This report provides a record of the 2019 workshop process and outcomes. It seeks to capture and document the small group dialogue feedback sessions and the participants’ contribution to the outputs of the workshops.

View WCBR Research Workshop Report (19 June 2019)

The Western Cape Biosphere Reserve Research Workshop Report 2018 can be viewed here.

This workshop “Towards a Research Agenda” took place on 31 August 2018 was hosted by the Sustainability Research Unit at Nelson Mandela University, George Campus.

The Nelson Mandela University, Sustainability Research Unit hosted a workshop bringing together a diversity of practitioners, researchers and interested parties who are tasked with aligning human activity and well-being with environmental protection in the Western Cape biosphere reserves.

The workshop was focused on facilitating a Western Cape biosphere research network and developing a user inspired, coordinated research agenda. Working at the interface of practice and research the workshop targeted the development of a social-ecological research focus that would inform inter-, multi, and trans-disciplinary research themes for the biosphere reserves.

A series of short presentations from the Western Cape Biosphere Reserves Forum on social and ecological challenges in the Western Cape and the launch of a research portal, together with an introduction to the Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework and the need for long term inter- and trans-disciplinary research in and on biosphere reserves were given. The presentations set the scene for important deliberations on the challenges of achieving biosphere reserve goals and, the difficulties, opportunities and role of networks in facilitating research practice feedbacks for impactful research.

View outcomes here.