The Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment (GDACE) has disappeared in name. After the April election it was replaced by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and to date nobody is sure exactly what that means, nor how it affects conservation and environmental issues.

The new MEC is Ms Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, formerly chairperson of the Agriculture, Conservation and Environment Committee in the Gauteng Legislature. Khabisi Mosunkutu, ex-MEC for GDACE, is now MEC for Safety and Security.

Event Calendar

Sunday 22 June: Acid Mine Drainage

What are the downstream effects and impacts on places such as Blair Atholl, Monaghan Farm, Rhenosterspruit, Riverside Estates (the Oori) and Kalkheuvel? Pollution emanating from old mines on the Witwatersrand has huge impacts on both surface and ground water resources. It has also significantly affected infrastructure, game populations in conservation areas and destroyed virtually all the aquatic life in rivers, streams and dams downstream towards the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. 

The Crocodile River is potentially under threat and the AMD impacts – if not dealt with correctly by Government, the mines and other key stakeholders - will become evident all the way down the river, even to Hartbeespoort Dam. Stephan du Toit, a known specialist on AMD, will give a talk on AMD, its origins, what remedial programmes are planned by Government, whether such are working and how AMD can potentially affect downstream property owners.

Time: 14:30 for 15:00
Venue: Alpha Conference Centre on the R512
Cost: R20 pp. Refreshments included.

Photograph from Federation for a Sustainable Environment


Saturday June 28: Starlight and the price of light pollutionNIGHTSKIES

Allen Versfeld talks about light pollution - probably the least well-known form of pollution. People seldom see it as a problem at all, and are proud of their ability to banish the night and bring light to the darkest shadows. But all this light comes at a price. Most obviously, astronomers have to shut down their observatories and move to ever more remote locations, just to see the stars they study. But it is becoming obvious that artificial light affects all of us. Excessive or badly-designed lighting not only hides the stars from view, it disrupts the behaviour of nocturnal animals, blinds passing motorists, harms human health and paradoxically can even make us more vulnerable to crime. Allen will explain the various ways in which these problems are caused and present a few guidelines to help reduce the harm while still letting us keep the lights on. 
Time: Talk: 14:30 for 15:00, followed by a Bring&Braai and star-gazing
Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (directions available)
Cost: R60 pp; R30 for kids under 12. If you want to stay for the stargazing, bring your own braai/picnic and warm clothing.


Sunday 24 August: Geology Rocks!GEOLOGY

Dr Adam Bumby of Pretoria University takes the ever popular geology walk through granites, dolomites, stromatholites of Hennops River, Hills and Dales and Roodekrans.

Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (directions available)
Time: 08:30 for 09:00
Cost: R60 pp. R30 for kids under 12. Refreshments included.


Sunday 14 September: Ride the Rhenoster mountain bike rideridethe-rhenoster

Bookings and info:


Sunday 12 October: Talk to the Trees!TREES

Members of the Tree Society takes us on a walk from the banks of the Jukskei River and up and around World's View Hill. In this area there are more tree species in a few hundred hectares than in the whole of the British Isles. 
Meeting point in Vlakfontein: To be announced
Cost: R60 pp. R30 for kids under 12. 


Saturday 24 October: Artists in the Sun!Painting day 2

A relaxing day for seasoned as well as budding artists - with the Schurveberg and the sweeping grasslands to inspire stunning works of art. 
Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (directions available)
Info and cost:


Sunday 2 November: Glorious grasses and spring flowersflowers

A leisurely walk through the veld with experts Alan Short and Antoinette Eyssell to point out the gems under our feet.
Venue: The Sheds, off Gemstone Road in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (directions available)
Cost: R60 pp and R30 for kids under 12. Refreshments included.



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