MINUTES OF THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON 11 FEBRUARY 2019.Posted on the 12th February 2019
MINUTES OF THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON 11 FEBRUARY 2019.
Anton welcomed everyone and projected apologies received, together with those members who could not attend due to staying to far away.
The minutes of the 2018 AGM were taken as read.
Emmie Ackermann, Geoff Anderson, Charlotte Augustyn, Cornel Bester, Wilfred Chivell, Gary & Paula Combrink, Wilfred & Marcia Crous, Mike & Margaret Graham, Horton & Christine Griffiths, Fred Kuys, Plum Lategan, Truida Louw, Stuart & Cindie Maxwell, Louise and John Makepeace, Richard and Christine Masson, Ken Mead, Harry Molenaar, Fran Moodie, Loes Nas, Chris & Estelle Neethling, Cynthia & Johann Strunck Odendaal, Diana Parker, Steve Peck, Almari Robbertse, Frances Rogers, Jenny Simpson, Wilana Smidt, Marion Smith, Aldorette & Vik Styger, Peter Theron, Manie van den Heever, Susan Visagie, Jessie Walton, Rev Ward. (44)
MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE
Louis and Angelika Alberts, Titia Ballot, Keith and Barbara Baughan, Ann Boyd (Guest), Ruth Bester, Jeremy David, Anita de Jager, Peter and Sue Doble, Daphne Hutton, Richard and Elsabé Ketteringham, Vivie Lombard, Betsie Lategan, Lexi Lawson, James Luckhoff, Tobie Louw, Carin Malan, Jenny McDonald, Barry and Maureen Moult, Charles and Colleen Naude, Anton and Elaine Odendal, Helé Oosthuizen, Jenny Parsons, Eric Peters (Guest), Mariette Pitlo, Lynette Schulter, Carl and Madelein Swart, Brian Taylor, Anthony and Carol van Hoogstraten, Jenny Westwater. (38)
FORMAL AGM MEETING
1. MONTHLY TALKS AND LECTURES
SPEAKERS: The committee was again able to put together a varied and entertaining series of lectures focusing on visits to fascinating birding sites, critical conservation issues and usually very entertaining guest speakers. The speakers organised for 2019 seem very promising and we should again have a very successful year.
CATERING: The catering at the monthly meetings continues to be very well received. We would like to thank everyone who had contributed to this great effort as this is still injecting a lot of new energy and enthusiasm into our meetings.
After some debate it was decided increase the catering costs to R 110.00 per head. The costs for those attending the meeting without enjoying the meal remain at R 30.00. Remember the honesty box rule: Members who confirm wanting to eat at the meetings and who then do not arrive without a legitimate excuse will be required to pay for such meal at a future meeting. Kindly note that RSVP's to enjoy supper will close by 12h00 on the Friday before monthly meetings – those who do not confirm by then will not be able to join us for supper.
APPRECIATION TO MOLLERGREN PARK: Members expressed their satisfaction with the venue and a decision was taken to continue using the facility for at least another year.
SPEAKERS CONFIRMED PROVISIONALLY FOR 2019: The list of confirmed speakers is available in the schedule under events on the club website. Carin Malan will be our guest speaker on 11 March when she will talk on “Birding in Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal””. This promises to be a great event, so kindly support it.
2. DAY AND WEEKEND OUTINGS
We again had a very successful year as far as day outings are concerned and we thanked members who started submitting reports on such outings, as well as private trips and tours. Kindly keep on doing so. We are also appreciative of members who had volunteered to serve as leaders of day outings during 2019. The list of outings is available in the schedule under events on the club website.
There were two failed weekend outings during 2018 due to a lack of interest and Anton and Elaine will try to address this problem during the next year. The annual Nature’s Valley trip is already fully booked.
Please keep in mind that any member may only reserve spots on weekend and midweek outings on behalf of him- or herself and spouse and no reservation will in future be allowed on behalf of other people or members.
3. ACTIVITIES NOT DIRECTLY CLUB RELATED
# Anton continues with a birding column entitled DIE VALKOOG in the LANDBOUWEEKBLAD and will try to continue with other columns now that he will have more time on his hands.
# Only five Flight for Birders identification and conservation courses were presented during 2018 due to work pressure. Four courses are being presented during February, three of these being for CapeNature employees. A new course for more experienced birders is currently being developed – details to be released soon. Six further talks to bird clubs and informal groupings were done.
# No bird-finder web pages were launched during 2018 due to too many club commitments.
# We continued posting the completed birdfinder web pages before holiday periods on both the website and the various Facebook pages. This continues to make a significant contribution towards the marketing of the Western Cape as a top birding destination.
Refer to the description of these activities under the CleanMarine project below.
5.1 OPPOSING THE APPLICATION FOR A PERMIT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A DISTILARY AT ROOIELS. We coordinated an appeal against this ridiculous application in collaboration with various other individuals and organizations and it appears as if the appeal will be successful. Our appreciation goes to the majority of our members who had sent us letters of support for our objection.
5.2 SUPPORT FOR THE HANDS OFF FERNKLOOF CAMPAIGN. It was unanimously agreed that we will continue with our support for the “Hands off Fernkloof Nature Reserve” campaign if needed.
5.3 BIRDLIFE OVERBERG’S CLEANMARINE PROJECT ON THE CONSERVATION OF OUR COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES. See below.
# Communication through the BLOBirdNet was discontinued during 2018 due to several members not registering for the service despite continual requests in this regard. The BirdNet was replaced with three ordinary address lists whereby information is disseminated by email. Astrid Twomey will circulate such messages during 2019.
# The club website as part of the Overberg Birding Route site on www.westerncapebirding.co.za is doing well and events and reports are being updated on a continual basis. Members are encouraged to visit the website regularly to stay abreast of events. We have introduced a section on trip reports and this has proven to be extremely popular. Kindly submit reports of all your trips, even if it is only a morning outing. Note that we need at least two further members to assist us with the website – kindly contact Anton in this regard.
# The committee decided to investigate the possibility of reviving the club photographic competition and we are looking for a member to co-ordinate this. We need help with the administration of the website and members are requested to volunteer their services – contact Anton in this regard.
# The Western Cape Birding Facebook account was discontinued in view of only focusing on club matters – this again due to time constraints. This is a pity as this Facebook page was used to market the Western Cape Province as a top birding destination. Our Facebook accounts, for BirdLife Overberg, the Flight for Birders course and CleanMarine at BirdLife Overberg are hugely successful and continue to improve visits to the website. Members not yet part of this are encouraged to send a Friend Request to Anton Odendal as this is by far the most effective and rapid way of communicating on events, sightings and the like. Carin emphasized that this is a very important and immediate level of communication.
# The club website as part of the Overberg Birding Route site on www.westerncapebirding.co.za is doing well and events and reports are being updated on a continual basis. Members are encouraged to visit the website regularly to stay abreast of events. We have introduced a section on trip reports and this has proven to be extremely popular. Kindly submit reports of all your trips, even if it is only a morning outing. The committee decided to investigate the possibility of reviving the club photographic competition and we are looking for a member to co-ordinate this. We need help with the administration of the website and members are requested to volunteer their services – contact Anton in this regard.
7. SUMMARY - POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ON PROGRESS WITH THE BLO CAMPAIGN ON THE CONSERVATION OF OUR COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES
Anton initially illustrated the ridiculous number of hours that he had to spend on this project and club administration and requested members present to assist with decisions regarding the future of these projects. He then reviewed progress with the project.
Project 1: The identification of key breeding spots of African Oystercatchers & White-fronted Plovers along Overstrand beaches and the rolling out of educational campaigns (posters, brochures, media releases, etc) developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust. Two problems are being experienced here, the first relating to the high costs of these resources. Secondly, no support is being received from the Environmental Management division of the Overstrand Municipality. The same applies to the zoning of beaches for dogs. There was extensive debate about these issues that lead to a vague recommendation that these issues should be addressed in small areas (“pockets”) – Anton’s personal view as that these projects will not be sustainable without the appointment of a project manager through major fundraising. This probably does not fall within the ambit of a bird club?
Project 2: The undertaking of more regular quarterly Co-ordinated Waterbird (CWAC) Counts along Overstrand estuaries. This project is not viable due to a lack of support from the membership. Carin will investigate the possibility of doing more regular counts along the Botriver estuary. Official BirdLife Overberg participation in this project to not continue even though individual members would be welcome to participate.
Project 3: Erecting fishing line bins along the Overstrand coastline. Initial consultations with representatives of DICT and Plastics SA resulted in the identification of sites along the rest of our coastline where bins should be placed. Interviews were undertaken with fishermen and people involved in regular coastal cleanups and several new sites were identified. Five bins were set up at Onrus and Vermont and a further five between Prawn Flats at the mouth of the Klein River estuary and a site to the east of the Hermanus cliff path. We express our sincere appreciation to Frank Spratt and Tom Casey for their assistance in this regard. Carl Swart identified a further four sites along the Kleinmond coastline and Jenny Parsons four sites at Pringle Bay. Five further sites were also identified along the Hermanus cliff path and five more sites were identified along the Sandbaai coastline. More bins were received from John Kieser of Plastics SA and these will be set up shortly. This project will be coordinated by Anton.
Project 4: The setting up of cigarette butt bins along our coastline. It has become evident that alternative plans to address the problem of cigarette butt pollution will have to be developed. Discussions in this regard with Dr Mark Brown of the Nature’s Valley Trust have been initiated. Possible alternatives could include (1) Involving smokers into research to try to get to grips with this problem. (2) Creating more effective media exposure on the impact of butts on the environment and (3) Possibly getting a tobacco company such as BAT on board as a partner in view of the sponsorship of ongoing research. Qualitative research of this nature is time consuming and expensive and the meeting agreed that this project be scrapped unless large-scale sponsorship can be obtained.
Project 5: Monthly coastal clean-ups along the Onrus and Vermont shorelines. This project is hugely successful and Elaine and Helé were congratulated for their sterling effort in this regard. The project will continue with the next clean-up being on Saturday 16 February at the first section of the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve.
- It was decided not to continue with the “Oystercatcher Hero of the Month award”.
- Elaine and Helé were thanked appropriately at the meeting.
Project 6: The BirdLife South Africa Bird of the Year 2018 material & resources on the African Black Oystercatcher were distributed to many schools in our region. This was done in collaboration with Whale Coast Conservation and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and is reported on in-depth elsewhere. Comprehensive reports are available on the club website.
- The BLO identification brochures on the common coastal birds of the Western Cape was adapted and reprinted and disseminated to more than 4,500 children in the region.
- The possible dissemination of Secretarybird posters during 2019 will be discussed by Carin and Anton.
The budgets for these various conservation projects will represent a minimum total of R 50,000.00 per annum, excluding the salary of a person to be appointed to manage this process. Members of the incoming committee will have to decide whether they would like to pursue these matters as these projects have wonderful conservation merits.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to members and others who had supported our efforts until now and request all members to become involved in some aspects of the projects. Kindly forward any ideas and recommendations regarding individuals and organisations that we could approach regarding the financing of our campaigns.
8. FINANCIAL REPORT
The financial report was prepared and submitted for approval to J. de W. Koegelenberg & Co. Vivie discussed the report in detail at the meeting where copies were made available to those present. The report was accepted.
Permission was also obtained to purchase a bookkeeping program to assist the incoming Treasurer.
I would like to thank Vivie Lombard, Elaine Odendal and Mr. Koegelenberg for their hard work in this regard. It is proposed that J. de W.Koegelenberg & Co remain our auditors. Vivie will not continue as Treasurer and will train the incoming Treasurer to take over. We are currently negotiating with a member to take over this function. We express our sincere appreciation to Vivie for her help in this regard over the last six years and she was thanked appropriately at the meeting.
9. MEMBERSHIP FEES - 2018: Membership fees were discussed and a 10% increase was ratified at the AGM. The following increases were decided upon. Individual membership for those younger than 60 years of age: R 235.00 pa. Individual membership for those older than 60 years of age: R 170.00 pa. Family members (Spouses): R 105.00. Child members: R 60.00 pa.
Members who had not yet paid their membership fees for 2019 are requested to do so at their earliest possible convenience.
8. DONATIONS: We express our sincere appreciation to all members who have made donations during 2018, as well as those who had already made wonderful contributions during 2019.
10. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE FOR 2019:
Several requests for support were sent out in this regard and we express our sincere appreciation to all those who had volunteered to assist us in many ways. Members of the core committee signed the applicable nomination forms that were also signed by a proposer and person seconding, both being paid-up members of the club. The following members and supporting teams were appointed:
BIRDLIFE OVERBERG COMMITTEE 2019
CHAIRPERSON: Elaine Odendal
DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Helé Oosthuizen
TREASURER: Vivie Lombard to hand over to someone else shortly
SECRETARY: Elsabé Ketteringham
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Elaine Odendal
CLUB COMMUNICATION: Astrid Twomey
ADDITIONAL MEMBER: Anton Odendal can be co-opted as and when needed.
CATERING COORDINATOR: Helé Oosthuizen
PRO: Julia Smith
FRONT OF HOUSE AND NAME TAGS: Maureen Moult and Jenny Westwater
CATERERING TEAMS: Keith & Barbara Baughan, Robin Lapping and Di Cartner, Tobie & Runette Louw, Carin Malan and Cherry Ronbeck, Maureen Moult and Jenny Westwater, Colleen Naude and Willemien van Heerden, Helé Oosthuizen and Elaine Odendal, Frank Spratt and friends for the braais,
CHAIRS AT MONTHLY MEETINGS: Tobie Louw, Carin Malan, Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, Mariette Pitlo, Brian Taylor, Frank Spratt.
GROUP LEADERS FOR DAY OUTINGS: Riaan Jacobs, Carin Malan, Richard Masson, Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, Helé Oosthuizen and Steve Peck. At least one more member needed to lead Fernkloof outings
ORGANISERS OF WEEKEND OUTING: Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, one more member needed to organise a weekend outing.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
COORDINATOR: Anton Odendal
MONTHLY PHOTO GALLERIES: Carl Swart
NB: At least two more volunteers needed to assist us with the website
COORDINATOR: Anton Odendal
COORDINATORS OF COASTAL CLEAN-UPS: Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen
FUNDRAISING: Tobie Louw. Lexi Lawson. More volunteers needed
11. CONCLUDING COMMENT: I am now standing down as Chairman of the club as was indicated during the AGM in February 2018. I have served on bird club and photographic society committees since the early 80s and now need to pursue some other birding interests. These include the presentation of more courses and developing a new one, writing articles for various columns and newsletters and designing bird-finder web pages to market the Western Cape Province as a top birding destination, and to have the time to just bird as well. As far as the club goes I will still work on the website, lead a few outings and support the incoming committee when requested to do so.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you all for your support over the years and am happy that Elaine and Helé and the new committee will ensure that BirdLife Overberg remains the great example that it is.
12 February 2019.