Three firefighters died trying to help stop a raging veld fire threatening the Oori Private Nature Reserve near Lanseria Airport for the second time on 11 November. Local residents have already collected R45 000 to help the families of Adrian Haywood, Peter Molomo and Bornfirst Moyo. See Facing the Fire Dragon below.
In a scary series of events Lesedi Cultural Village and Alpha Conference Centre, both in Kalkheuvel, were damaged by separate fires on Sunday 15 November. At the same time, Culterra nursery on the R114 was also damaged by fire.
Phelisa Matyolo, one of the dancers at Lesedi Cultural Village bordering the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, was selected as one of five Youth Rhino Ambassadors to represent South Africa on a visit to Vietnam in October. The five carried an urgent appeal to Vietnamese citizens and Asian government leaders to bring an end to the rhino poaching crisis in Africa.
Locals in this neck of the woods are often a shining example of what is possible when hearts, heads and hands work together for a cause close to South Africans’ hearts.
"I watched the fire dragon last night - devouring everything in its path," said Karen Davidson of the Oori Private Nature Reserve, not far from Lanseria Airport. "What do you pack when you have 15 minutes to evacuate?
More than 20,000 hectares of forest in Spain were charred by fire in 2012 but in the middle of the devastation, a group of Mediterranean cypresses was still standing tall and green.
For months, from late July, Joburg Water polluted the Jukskei-Crocodile Rivers by releasing sewage directly from Northern Treatment Works into these water courses which feed Hartbeespoort Dam.
As the reality of the continual sewage flows hit home - and the river flowed dark, dirty and stinking, day after day - anger rose. A petition was begun with one aim: hold the responsible authorities accountable for this damage.
A petition targeting authorities responsible for large-scale pollution of a river is one small step. The real journey is to tackle the systemic failure of management and political will that has resulted in the ongoing pollution of rivers and dams across Gauteng and, indeed, South Africa.
Sewage discharges are poisoning most major dams in South Africa, including Hartbeespoort Dam. Eutrophication of the water, caused by high levels of nutrients, ie sewage, promotes the growth of cyanobacteria - blue-green algae.
Officials from the Conservation Directorate of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) have just completed a final round of biodiversity assessments in the project area of the Crocodile River Reserve. This project area covers the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy and stretches further east to include a critically threatened ecosystem.
A special plaque commemorating Unesco’s declaration of the Magaliesberg as a Biosphere Reserve was unveiled by palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger on 28 October on top of the mountain.
Rocketing food prices, drought, fires and failed crops? Don’t lose heart, there’s food in the veld. We have just lost the knowledge of how to look for it.
If your passion is astronomy, be prepared to sit for hours in the dark with a telescope tracking the stars when normal people sleep soundly.
Allen Versfeld of Hennops River is one of those and that fascination linked him up with President Obama’s White House Astronomy Night on 20 October.
We know about invasive plant species such as Pompom, but here is a weird one: the Climbing Perch. It’s a fish but it can actually crawl from the water and survive on dry land for up to six days. It pulls itself around from place to place using hard, spiny gills on the side of its head.
If you spot this one in your part of the world, raise the alarm! Parthenium hysterophorus (quite a mouthful) - or Famine Weed - is becoming a serious problem in KZN but also closer to home - meaning Gauteng.
The dry weather has slowed down Pompom Weed this season, but the pest is too tough to give up. The best time to spray is now, when the plants are small. By Christmas they are flowering and by then re-seeding has already taken place.
Invasive species are now regarded as a liability and must be identified before the sale of any property. The NEMBA Regulations state that a seller of property must, prior to the relevant sale agreement, notify the purchaser of the property (in writing), of the presence of listed invasive species on that property. Estate agents will not be able to sell a property without completing a 'Declaration of Invasive Species' certificate.
A copy of a seller's Declaration of Invasive Species must be lodged with the The Compliance Officer, Biosecurity Services, Department of Environmental Affairs.