I was fortunate enough to grow up on the Cape Peninsula, surrounded by the magnificent beauty and splendid natural landscapes of the Cape. I spent many weekends hiking, camping, sailing and exploring the natural environment and developed an interest in things green at a young age. I was then privileged to be mentored and inspired by a remarkable team of academics at the University of Cape Town Botany department in the early 1990’s and graduated with a Master degree in Botany in 1998. I subsequently met and have worked with Michael Lutzeyer, a special entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist at Grootbos Nature Reserve. I realised at an early stage in my career that the traditional view of purchasing, fencing and protecting for conservation was not viable, especially given the challenges facing our new democracy and marginalization of the majority of our people in South Africa. It became apparent to me that only a select few have had the opportunity to learn to appreciate the uniqueness and value of our fynbos flora. So, much of my career has focused on trying to find ways of making our remarkable natural heritage topical, interesting, and fun. I have been instrumental in establishing a number of programs on the Agulhas Plain region of the Cape over the last decade including training township youth in the Green Futures and Growing the Futures Colleges on Grootbos, developing conservation networks amongst private landowners in Walker Bay, establishing research programs and training materials for sustainable farming of fynbos at Flower Valley and developing guiding material and hosting local and international tourists at Grootbos. In all cases it’s simply about making a connection with peoples own value system and turning that green/grey stuff on the hills into something that they can relate to and get excited about protecting.
I recently published a book on the flora of Grootbos Nature Reserve and the Walker bay region. This was the culmination of thirteen years of detailed research into the regions flora. I am excited about sharing my passion for fynbos, its uniqueness, intricate ecology, many uses and shear unbridled beauty via this new fynboshub blog.