FOSTER - friends of St Francis nature areas

FOSTER as an organisation is managed by a small committee of dedicated volunteers with different portfolios and responsibilities which is ably chaired by Richard Cowling.

To maintain the reserves and the various trails and paths used by walkers, cyclists and trail runners, funds are needed, and these are generated through membership fees, donations, or fund-raising initiatives. In addition, there are people in our community who give of their time, others who help financially or find ways to help FOSTER with its work, most of whom would like to remain anonymous. Having these generous and open-hearted residents as part of our community makes the work that FOSTER does rewarding and restores ones faith in humanity.

Foster recently received a most generous donation of R50 000 from a local homeowner, to put this in perspective that is equivalent to 166 family memberships. (Foster currently has 196 members) This unexpected and welcome contribution will go a long way in helping stretch our maintenance budget for the reserves and allow us to upgrade some existing paths.

Then there is the CSF resident who personally maintains and cuts back the encroaching vegetation onto the paths in the Seal Point Nature Reserve with his trimmer and cutter. One of our active members pays the monthly admin fees to ensure that our books are accurate and up to date and whose company donates building materials for the maintenance of the paths.

Not to forget the St Francis Bay resident who was concerned about the increase in Rooikrans in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve and came forward and offered to fund a project to help eradicate this alien species that is beginning to reappear. He is passionate about our area and the reserves and the need to protect what we have and is putting his money where his mouth is.

As is John Lagaay, another St Francis Bay resident who is an avid fisherman and decided to fund the removal of rubbish and debris brought in by the sea from the boats along the shore of Shark Point, which is part of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Apart from making this an ongoing initiative, he also contributed substantially to the cost of having the wreck of the Barcelona largely removed and the area cleaned up so that it can no longer be used as a shelter by poachers and other undesirables. When asked why he replied, partially for selfish reasons, as I love fishing in a pristine environment and whilst many of my fellow fisherman obviously don’t, I want to keep my favourite fishing area as nature intended, the fact that this helps FOSTER is so much the better.

FOSTER will shortly be launching its new logo and an updated website. A huge amount of work has gone into the redesigned website by one of our committed members, and together with the generous help of Alex & Dominique Gotte from local media company DNA Online, will now be much more user friendly and includes updated easy to follow trail maps. DNA Online also hosts our website for a nominal annual fee.

The new logo will feature the endemic flower Satyrium princeps Bolus or commonly known as coastal Satyr which is on the red list of South African plants.

There are of course numerous other supporters of Foster, too many to mention, who make regular donations, or simply pay a much higher membership fee or find ways of supporting the work of FOSTER. The time and work that my fellow committee members contribute to FOSTER with no or little thanks also deserves a mention.

So, if you have ideas, want to give of your time or financially support Foster in any way, please contact us at info@foster.org.za.