We all need to make the most of our environment and as an institution of higher learning we need to impart appropriate content, skills, attitudes, values and make learning a meaningful experience for all students, visiting school groups and the wide variety of communities we engage with.
The UWC Nature Reserve encompasses the 30 ha private nature reserve, the indigenous nursery and the environmental education centre.
The role of this unit is to:
- promote an awareness of the total environment
- attain a positive attitude towards the Cape Flats natural biodiversity
- support formal education through our programmes offered to learners and educators
- improve the understanding of the ecological processes and how they relate to the individual and community
- support and initiate research within biodiversity and conservation
- impart skills on plant propagation and assist in the establishing of indigenous gardens around the reserve
- promote and ultimately conserve the natural lowland systems in the Western Cape with special reference to the veld types present in the Cape Flats Nature Reserve
Management is geared towards maintaining the existing natural veld, by minimal disturbance and a continuous weeding programme. The weeding programme is aimed chiefly at preventing the establishment of woody aliens, notably Port Jackson. All Acacia seedlings, as well as annual weeds and grasses are controlled either chemically or mechanically, depending on their density and where they occur. Regular checks are made to the area, especially in areas where accidental fires have occurred as fire promotes the germination of Acacia saligna seeds.
Sections of the reserve need to be burnt to clear the area of moribund vegetation. Areas have been identified and its viability examined due to burn restrictions, therefore a fire management plan is being placed in motion.
The Reserve is listed a s core botanical site on the Cape Flats. Given the current precarious conservation status of the Cape Flats, this reserve should be conserved for its uniqueness as the only nature reserve that affords visitors the opportunity to experience the original Cape Flats vegetation. Furthermore, it contains Red Data Book species (rare and endangered species).
The Reserve provides an excellent asset for the University of the Western Capes staff and students as well as outside individuals. Several staff and students are involved in active research programmes linked to the Reserve. With its associated Environmental Education programme, the Reserve provides a much needed service to many of the impoverished Cape Flats learners.