VISITORS to Princess Vlei will have noticed a number of improvements recently. These are part of the ongoing project by the City and the Princess Vlei Forum, to transform the area in accordance with the community vision for Princess Vlei.
For the past five years, the Forum has been consulting with community members to develop this vision through workshops, surveys and meetings. The Forum also has a team of architects and professional designers who are donating their time to work with the planning department of City Parks to make sure that developments are done according to the wishes of the community.
Many of the improvements have been made possible by Councillor Kevin Southgate, who has allocated a large proportion of the ward budget to Princess Vlei every year. Cllr Southgate has also been instrumental in assisting the Princess Vlei Forum with leveraging other resources from the City to improve the environment and facilities at Princess Vlei.
Recent developments on the eastern shore include:
Trudy Gibbons from the City offers regular community walks from the Eco-Adventure center on the Western side of the vlei, and there are plans to host a weekly Park Run around Princess Vlei later this year. These activities will help to transform Princess Vlei into a rich and vibrant asset to both community and nature.
Progress made by the Manager at Princess Vlei
Denisha Anand, the manager at Princess Vlei, is settling into her job and making a huge difference to the area. Denisha's work includes restoring the strandveld and fynbos on the site, working to improve the water quality, alien clearance, monitoring of flora and fauna species, liaising with the community and the City, and environmental education.
The Princess Vlei Forum raised money from the Hans Hoheisen Trust, with the help of CTEET, to employ a full time manager. Denisha works in collaboration with the City management team.
Having a full time manager has enabled the City to free up some resources to the site, such as the deployment of a team of EPWP workers who have been involved with alien clearance and many other tasks. We hope that the City will take over the funding of this post in due course.
To find out more about Denisha's work, download her latest report here.
Our wetland wildlife just got a whole group of new friends, thanks to the Princess Vlei Forum’s Wetland Wizards project. The project, which was run in collaboration with the Peter Clarke Art Centre, aimed to encourage local school children to discover more about the amazing life that is sustained by the wetlands at Princess Vlei.
On the afternoon of 13th March, forty school kids from Levana Primary, Harmony Primary, and Floreat Primary, gathered at Princess Vlei with binoculars, nets, sample boxes and worksheets. The learners discussed what they understood by the word habitat, and why a healthy habitat is so important for all living things. Then they went out to see what creatures they could find, and discovered water beetles, dragonflies, bees, beetles, spiders, lady birds, moths, stick insects, as well as a great variety of birds. Creatures who were caught were treated carefully, examined, and returned to their homes without being injured. Sadly they also discovered many things that don’t belong in the habitat such as old car tyres, discarded bottles and other litter.
We met again on March 22 at Steenberg Primary, this time with Steenberg Primary learners as well. This was a chance for the learners to translate what they’d discovered into beautiful artworks, guided by Liesl Hartman from the PCAC. The learners worked in groups to create dioramas showing some of the wonderful plant and animal life that makes up the Princess Vlei wetland. Each panel of the diorama showed a different part of the wetland – under the water, underground, on the water and land surface, up in reed tops and the tree canopies. Unfortunately, due to a change in the date, Floreat Primary could not join us for this.
The artworks produced showed the children’s powers of observation, as well as their remarkable creativity. These wonderful dioramas can be assembled together to form a ‘Wetland wall’. This will be displayed at our art exhibition to be held at the Grassy Park Library later this year.
Thanks to the National Lotteries Commission for providing funds, to Steenberg Primary for providing a venue, to the teachers for giving up their valuable free time, and of course to the learners for their enthusiasm, curiosity and creativity.
Below are the wonderful art works produced by the children.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.