Thank you to all the Members who kindly volunteered to assist with the Ingwelala Work Party on 09 & 10 August 2019.
Dr Uwe Hohl in Bungalow # 111 coordinated the work party and reports as follows:
“After a lengthy interval, we managed to arrange another work party at Ingwelala, and I am pleased to report that it was the best attended one to date, with no less than 15 participants.
The work parties are essentially designed to give the Ingwelala members and their guests the opportunity to experience the reserve from a side that they would normally not be able to. It is an adventure that lets the participants not only get closer to the bush, but their efforts play a very important part in nature conservation. Apart from completing the tasks that Ingwelala assigns to the group, the work parties are also about a deep nature experience where you interact with your surroundings. It is also both a teaching and learning experience for all the party members, as we share knowledge and experience.
The projects that Chris Mayes had selected for us this weekend was to clear some of the riverbed of the invading and poisonous Mexican Poppy (Argemone Mexicana), and to clear some of the road verges on the Op Goedehoop part of the reserve.
We chose to tackle the Mexican poppy on the first day. This turned out to be the right decision, as the energy and the motivation levels were still very high. Always under the watchful eye of our fearless leader, Chris, we put on our gloves and got stuck into it. At first, we made great progress of removing both the dried adult plants, as well as some of the new green plants over a large area quickly, but then this task turned out to be more of a struggle than initially anticipated. Most people are familiar with this plant, but few are aware of how widespread it has become. Fortunately, these plants grow in soft sandy soils, which makes it easier to remove the whole plant with its taproot. However, our enthusiasm was caged fairly quickly when we started to work in the lower sections of the riverbed, which is overrun with thousands of tiny seedlings. Even Chris commented how demoralising this work was, but we all agreed that every little bit helps towards the greater cause.
The dried adult plants were placed onto small heaps, which the Ingwelala team would then burn away on site once the windy weather has subsided. The small fresh plants were collected into rubbish bags to be removed and destroyed later.
The work on day one had taken its toll on some of the participants and the group on day two was significantly smaller. However, the remaining members were no less enthusiastic than on day one.
The project of the day was to clear the road verges of the encroaching vegetation on the Op Goedehoop part of the reserve. Starting at Howard’s Hope, and “armed” with clippers and garden scissors, we set off on foot, followed closely by our support vehicle. We made good progress in short time and had cleaned up all the roads north of Howard’s hope by lunch time.
A blessing for both days was the cool and overcast weather, especially considering that the temperatures prior to the work party weekend had been in the mid 30 degrees.
I would like to thank all the participating members and their guests for their hard work, which were Beverly from bungalow No. 4, Alison and Kathryn from No. 14, Charné and Matthew from No. 93 and their guests Melissa and Michael, Robert from No. 171, Lynda and Justin and their son Jonathan from No. 184, and Dieter, Robyn and her son from No. 191. Your hard work and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated, and it really does make a difference.
A special thank you must go out to the Ingwelala management for again allowing us to “get our hands dirty” and their support in me to coordinate this project. A huge thank you also goes out to Chris for giving up his time to assist us and making sure that we were always safe .
Apart from doing some conservation work on the Ingwelala property, the work parties also form a platform to bring members closer together and make new friends. Despite the age differences and experience levels, I truly believe that this work party met its objective of building a tighter Ingwelala community.
I hope to see all the past participants again, as well as many new faces, at the next work party.
by John Llewellyn