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MINUTES OF THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2020

Posted on the 17th March 2020

MINUTES OF THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2020
DATE: 9 March 2020
VENUE: Community Hall at Mollergren Park, Hermanus
CHAIRPERSON OF MEETING: Anton Odendal

1. WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
The members were welcomed and the apologies and proxies received were noted:
MEMBERS PRESENT AT THE AGM: Titia Ballot, Barbara Baughan, Keith Baughan, Ruth Bester, Chris Cheetham, Anita de Jager, Rene Dewar, Ross Dewar, Elsabé Ketteringham, Vivie Lombard, James Luckhoff, Carin Malan, Charles Naude, Colleen Naude, Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, Helé Oosthuizen, Jenny Parsons, Mariette Pitlo, Cherry Ronbeck, Frank Spratt, Carl Swart, Johan van der Westhuizen, Anthony van Hoogstraten, Jenny Westwater

WRITTEN APOLOGIES RECEIVED: Angelika Alberts, Louis Alberts, Jeff Anderson, Jane Angus, Gary Baumgarten, Wilfred Chivell, Paula Combrink, Gary Combrink, Daphne Hutton, Riaan Jacobs, Plum Lategan, Tobie Louw, Runette Louw, Chris Neethling, Steve Peck, Almari Robbertse, Aletta Robertson, Marion Smith, Theanette Staal, Peter Theron, Carol van Hoogstraten, Susan Visagie. (Several other member apologised by sending through proxies – see list below).

OTHERS UNABLE TO ATTEND: Paddy Bakker, Peter Bakker, Cornel Bester, Lynette Bester, Patrick Ceilier, Horton Griffiths, Christine Griffiths, Wilfred Crous, Marcia Crous, Patrick Cudmore, Sean King, Jenny Kilpin, Willemien Law, Stuart Maxwell, Cindy Maxwell, Alistair Moodie, Francis Moodie, Francis Rogers, Jill Shapland Smit, Jenny Simpson, Melanie Turck, Astrid Twomey, Manie van den Heever, Liesl van Heerden, Jessie Walton, Rev Ward, Eva Whitfield

PROXIES WERE RECEIVED FROM THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS: Jane Angus, Charlotte Augustyn, Gary Baumgarten, MC Botha, Johnny Caldow, Wilfred Chivell, Justine du Toit, Trevor Edwards, Duncan Fletcher, Ingrid Grundlingh, Gerry Henny, Riaan Jacobs, Mark Lane-Jones, Robin Lapping, Betsie Lategan, Plum Lategan, Lexi Lawson, Louise Makepeace, Richard Masson, David Mourant, Chris Neethling, Di Parker, Steve Peck, Michael Raimondo, Almari Robbertse, Lynn Schluter, Marion Smith, Viktor Styger, Ben Thompson, Astrid Twomey, Rynhard van der Merwe, Susan Visagie

2. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS AGM.
The minutes of the AGM 2019 were forwarded in 14 February 2019 and 14 January 2020. No comments regarding changes were received or noted at the meeting and the minutes were therefore approved. Approval proposed by Charles Naude and seconded by Elsabé Ketteringham.

3. OVERVIEW OF THE ANNUAL REPORTS
The written annual report and an overview on progress with the BirdLife Overberg CleanMarine campaign on the conservation of our coastline and estuaries were circulated previously. A summary of these reports in the form of a PowerPoint presentation was delivered at the meeting. A few issues not included in the presentation, but forming part of the reports are noted herewith in italic.

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS
At the beginning of the report it was noted that it is appropriate to revisit BirdLife Overberg’s basic aims as formulated when we originally formed the club. It would be appreciated if the reports on both activities and the conservation work could be evaluated against the backdrop of our club’s basic aims. Our aims read:
• To allow people in the Overberg with an interest in birds to become involved in bird-watching by participating in the typical activities associated with BirdLife South Africa and its international partners;
• To place strong emphasis on educational programs in order to get participants involved in the meaningful conservation of birds and their habitats;
• To market the Overberg as a top birding destination, thus contributing to the region’s already impressive tourism infrastructure.

INFRASTRUCTURE
MONTHLY TALKS AND LECTURES We were 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. These talks included talks on birding at wonderful birding destinations such as Zululand, Swaziland (Eswatini) and New Zealand and the highlighting of conservation threats facing our Secretarybirds, bustards and korhane and sunbirds. We further celebrated the many endemic bird species found in the Western Cape Province and John Kieser introduced us to the work of Plasticsǀ SA. The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the talk on the role of seabirds in the ecology of our shores and seas by George and Margo Branch at our hugely successful Xmas in July fundraising event.
We express our sincere appreciation to all speakers who shared their considerable experience and knowledge with us. We will once again do our utmost to get top quality speakers at our meetings during 2020.

CATERING: The catering at the monthly meetings continues to be very popular. We would like to thank everyone who had contributed to this great effort as this is injecting a lot of energy and enthusiasm into our meetings. We would particularly like to express our sincere appreciation to Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen for coordinating the catering. We thank all members who had already volunteered to assist us with the catering during 2020. Kindly ensure that RSVP's for these events are done well in advance as it is vital for catering purposes.

APPRECIATION TO MOLLERGREN PARK: We have indeed been privileged to have been able to present our monthly meetings and the Flight Higher course for more experienced birders at the community hall of Mollergren Park. This is an outstanding venue and most of our speakers have commented on this. Our appreciation goes to the Mollergren Park management in general and Fredeline in particular.

DAY AND WEEKEND OUTINGS AND COURSES
A wide selection of visits and activities were once again presented and these included:
• Regular monthly BLO coastal clean-ups, except when the weather did not allow for this. We thank Elaine and Helé for coordinating these important events.
• Regular quarterly CWAC counts started in July and these replaced BirdLife Overberg’s quarterly Mini Birding Big Days that were done over the previous three years. Many other clubs and agencies participated in these counts and we express our sincere appreciation to Carin Malan for the massive effort in putting this together. (We report on these two projects in the conservation report for 2019 that was published separately).
• Day outings were undertaken to several great destinations such as the De Mond Nature Reserve, the Rooiels site and Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, Arabella Estate, the Rooisand Nature Reserve, Vermont salt pan and the Karwyderskraal and Swartivier Roads, the Onrus and Vermont coastal path, Keurbos Farm in the Elgin Valley, the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the Stanford and Greyton districts.
• The midweek tour to Kostaplenti at Nature’s Valley in November was again hugely popular and well attended and we thank Charles and Colleen Naude for coordinating the tour. A birding blitz at Barry House on Riverton Stud in the Robertson district was undertaken in November and repeated in January and February 2020. It is anticipated that a further two blitzes will be undertaken during 2020.
• BLSA's Birding Big Day was again well supported and several groups participating in various areas throughout the Overberg.
• A total of 24 trip and outing reports were posted by members throughout 2019 highlighting visits to exciting birding destinations. We thank members for these reports and would like to encourage all members to forward reports, even if it is just about a stroll along the cliff path. Such reports are immensely popular on the website and social media pages and we regularly get new members to join the club due to this. These reports can be viewed under “NEWS” and “TRIP REPORTS” on the club website.

PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS
“DIE VALKOOG” in LANDBOUWEEKBLAD: Anton continued with articles for his birding column entitled DIE VALKOOG in the LANDBOUWEEKBLAD on a monthly basis. Discussions are underway to publish the first 30 articles in book form and the Editor has increased the length of the articles from 800 to 1,200 words.

COMMENTS AND REPORTS ON DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS AND SIMILAR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROJECTS. The following reports were submitted during 2019:
• Ongoing analysis of development proposals at the Vermont Salt Pan.
• Ongoing analysis of development proposals at the Rooiels site.
• Comments and objections to the draft scoping report for public comment with regards to mining rights application by Bongani Minerals (Pty) Ltd over portion 1 of the farm Piketberg Rd and portion 21 on the farm Namaquasfontein, Swartland District, Western Cape Province: 25 January 2019.
• Objection to the proposed development of a game farm with tourist facilities and associated infrastructure on the remainder of the farm Lamloch No. 892, Caledon district (Pre-Application DEA&DP Reference: 16/3/3/6/7/1/E2/18/1343/15): 12 April 2019.
• Comments on the Fernkloof Nature Reserve Protected Areas Management Plan (PAMP) 2020 – 2024 (Version: Draft1. 2019): 27 June 2019. (Note: Members at the meeting approved the continued monitoring of the situation and support of the Hermanus Botanical Society and the Hands Off Fernkloof campaign if this is needed).
• Comments on the draft Western Cape Biodiversity Bill, 2019 in support of the comments by Rob Fryer of Whale Coast Conservation: 6 August 2019.
• Comments on the proposed removal of alien reeds from the Onrus River estuary: 2 December 2019. (Note: Members at the meeting approved the continued monitoring of tourism development proposals along the Onrus River).
• Memorandum in support of an application for financial support for projects to National Geographic by Dr Odette Curtis-Scott of the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust: 6 December 2019.
• Comments on an application for bird-watching water safaris on the Klein River lagoon, Hermanus: 12 December 2019.
• Development of bird checklists based on pentad statistics and IBA trigger species for Rooiels and Pringle Bay, the Lamloch Swamps, Vermont Salt Pan and Riverton Stud, Robertson district.
• Comprehensive update of all destinations of the Cape Whale Coast bird finder web pages: 15 December 2019.
TRAINING COURSES AND TALKS: Fourteen courses were presented during the year. These included four courses for CapeNature employees, six Flight for Birders courses and four Flight Higher courses. Seven general talks were presented by Carin Malan, Richard Masson and Anton to bird clubs and other agencies.
THE WESTERN CAPE BIRDING FORUM: BirdLife Overberg reports to the Western Cape Birding Forum meetings were circulated to members and submitted to the Forum during February, June and November 2019.

COMMUNICATION:
• Elaine revived the monthly “What’s Happening” newsletter and this has proven to be very popular and successful. Other urgent announcements are still being made through the address lists. We thank Elaine for this major effort.
• We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Paula Combrink for still managing the WhatsApp rare bird reporting service for members. This is creating “pop-up outings” where members set up outings on short notice – this is proving to be extremely popular.
• 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. The section on trip reports has proven to be extremely popular. Kindly submit reports of all your trips, even if it is only a morning outing.
• We need help with the administration of the website and members are requested to volunteer their services – contact Anton in this regard. We express our appreciation to Carl Swart for his support with the posting of the regular monthly photo gallery of images forwarded by club members. This is by far the most popular posting on the website and the Facebook page.
• 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.

CONSERVATION
THE CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN – A detailed report had been published previously and only brief comments are made herewith.
BACKGROUND TO THE CAMPAIGN – Members were reminded of the origins of the projects and the participants in the planning workshop in September 2017:
THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS WERE REPRESENTED AT THE WORKSHOP
• BirdLife Overberg/ Cape, Somerset West, Stanford & West Coast Bird Clubs
• Dyer Island Conservation Trust/ Nature’s Valley Trust
• BirdLife South Africa/ Coastal Cleanup Conservation/ Paddavlei Eco Group/ RAMSAR SA/ Rethink Single Use Plastics/ Whale Coast Conservation
• CapeNature/ Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape Government/ Environmental Division, Overstrand Municipality
• Private individuals
NOTE THAT WRITTEN PROGRESS REPORTS RE SPECIFIC PROJECTS HAD BEEN PROVIDED ON THE WEBSITE AND IN MOST CASES ON THE CLUB’S FACEBOOK PAGE

PROTECTING AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER (ABO) AND WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (WFP) NESTS – The work of Jenny Parsons and Carin Malan was acknowledged in this regard and all of the volunteers assisting with the protection of the nests along the entire Overstrand coastline were thanked. The nest warning signs based on the Nature’s Valley Trust’s (NVT) work were designed, printed and disseminated to volunteers together with poles and in some cases rope. These were sponsored by the NVT through a grant from the Overstrand Municipality. Feedback will be requested from all volunteers at the end of the summer breeding season.
It is anticipated wooden structures for the protection of WFP nests, publicity and educational material and brochures, large information posters and possible signage regarding the zoning of beaches for dogs will be developed during the summer of 2020/ 2021. Photographs of these products were illustrated at the AGM.

QUARTERLY WATERBIRD (CWAC) COUNTS – Several bird clubs and other agencies participate in these counts along all of the estuaries along the Cape Whale Coast and the results are being forwarded to the Estuaries managers at BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) and CapeNature. We are hugely indebted to Carin Malan for putting this network together and coordinating it.
Officials from CapeNature have now approached us about undertaking regular CWAC counts at De Hoop Nature Reserve. Negotiations are ongoing and feedback will be given to members.

THE WAR ON MARINE LITTER
FISHING LINE BINS The setting up of fishing line bins in association with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust & Plasticsǀ SA has progressed well. We still have 10 more bins to set up along the cliff path and at Sandbaai and will do so after the Easter holidays. The entire Overstrand coastline will then be covered. We are already experiencing a dramatic reduction in discarded fishing line that we collect during the monthly coastal clean-ups. Frank Spratt & Tom Casey are thanked for their support in this regard.

STRANDING RESPONSE NETWORK A central emergency number has now been established at APSS of the DICT for the reporting of injured and stranded marine animals & birds and is being published widely. The number is 072 598 7117.

THE PROBLEM OF LITTERED CIGARETTE BUTTS The setting up of cigarette butt bins in association with several agencies is being monitored on an ongoing basis. A proposal for an in-depth qualitative study on cigarette butt littering behaviour has been developed and is being circulated to various potential sponsors.

MONTHLY COASTAL CLEAN-UPS The regular monthly coastal clean-ups are ongoing in association with Plasticsǀ SA and the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay. The four sites being cleaned are improving considerably as far as litter collected is concerned illustrating the value of these clean-ups. Feedback was also given about the hugely successful International Coastal Clean-up Day in September during which more than 20 organisations participated in the Overberg. We are hugely indebted to Elaine Odendal & Helé Oosthuizen for putting this network together and coordinating it.

THE PRODUCTION OF ECO-BRICKS A total of 170 kg of plastic has until now been removed from the system through the production of Eco-Bricks. Our appreciation to Carin, Carol, Danie, Daphne, Elaine, Marcele, Marlien, Susan and others for their support in this regard. The global network achieved 20k kg of Eco-Bricks in 2019. Our bricks are being used in a community development project on the Cape Flats under the auspices of the People n Planet campaign. 

EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGNS The BLSA Bird of the Year 2019 material & resources on the Secretarybird were disseminated to the majority of schools in the region. The dissemination of our identification brochures and other educational material is ongoing. The Flight Higher course now includes an hour long case-study on the CleanMarine campaign. Media campaigns are ongoing. There is ongoing collaboration with DICT, the municipality, CapeNature & government departments in the ocean month schools competition in October. Our appreciation goes to Tobie & Runette Louw for representing us as judges last year.

APPRECIATION EXPRESSED TO SPONSORS AND PARTNERS. The following organisations were acknowledged:
• The Important Bird & Biodiversity division of BirdLife South Africa
• Plasticsǀ SA
• The Nature’s Valley Trust
• The Dyer Island Conservation Trust
• The People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay
• The Overstrand Municipality

PROJECTS/ ISSUES TO BE FINANCED IN FUTURE
The following issues were discussed:
• Project management
• Infrastructure: Data, office, travel, etc
• Qualitative study on cigarette butt littering
• Nest protection: Warning signs, rope, A-frames, large beach behaviour posters , pamphlets/ brochures
• Dog zoning: Posters and pamphlets/ brochures
• Ongoing support of the coastal clean-ups
• Socks for the protection of down pipes from the road infrastructure
• Training of community members (Media releases, etc)
• Road shows: Workshops in communities wanting to implement similar projects (Yzerfontein was sighted as an example)

THE INCREASE IN WORK RELATED TO THE CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN OCCURRED IN THREE PHASES AND WAS ILLUSTRATED
• Before the workshop in October 2017 there was enough time, data and resources to cope with general birding admin (website, etc) and club stuff
• AFTER THE OCTOBER 2017 WORKSHOP: The various CleanMarine administrative and management stuff increased the workload to close to an eight hour day, with heavy demand on infrastructure such as data, phones and the like
• THE RESIGNATION OF DALE WRIGHT FROM BLSA and the resulting extra work on commenting on EIA’s and development proposals: This blew time way over an eight hour day and increased the demand on resources. As an example – the data that had always been sufficient prior to October 2017 ran out as early as 11 December 2019.
• Some details of hours spent on general BirdLife Overberg work (including managing the website), the CleanMarine campaign and commenting on development proposals were provided.
It is evident that fundraising efforts will have to be improved and that a member will probably have to be identified to assist with this. There are many commitments to sponsors, project partners, volunteers and other agencies and bird clubs with the result that the CleanMarine campaign will have to continue.

APPLICATION FOR NON PROFIT ORGANISATION STATUS
Recommendations in this regard have been put forward several times in the past and this finally gained momentum in 2019. We thank Tobie Louw for his hard work and effort in formulating the initial application and submitting this. We were then asked to change a few minor things in our constitution and this was approved by more than 70% of members (mostly through proxies) at a Special General Meeting. The constitution was adapted accordingly and submitted electronically to the authorities. They again requested us to change a minor issue in our constitution – it appears that different people evaluate the applications at the registrar’s office and read their own preferences into it. We requested members through the AGM to approve the changing of wording of minor issues in our constitution as requested by the Registrar’s office on the condition that baseline principles are not changed. Members will be informed of such possible changes in writing. The administrative time wasted to call Special General Meeting every time that the Registrar requests minor changes seem totally impractical. The names and contact details of the incoming committee also have to be included in the application. This was approved at the AGM.

7. FINANCIAL REPORT
The financial report was prepared and submitted for approval to J. de W. Koegelenberg & Co. Copies of the report were made available at the AGM and presented by Vivie Lombard. The report was accepted after some questions and discussions. Electronic copies of the report are available to members upon request. We would like to thank Vivie, Elaine Odendal and Mr. Koegelenberg for their hard work in this regard. Recommendations regarding the appointment of a bookkeeper, Treasurer and Auditors for 2020 will be decided upon by the incoming committee.
Vivie was appropriately thanked for her many years of dedication in this regard.
NOTE: A comment was made regarding the CleanMarine campaign as possibly not falling within the definition of bird clubs – this matter will be addressed on committee level and feedback given to members.

8. MEMBERSHIP FEES - 2020: Elaine has sent out invoices for membership fee renewals. We thank all members who had already renewed their subs and request others who had not yet paid their membership fees for 2020 to do so. A proposal on a single membership fee was put forward at the AGM and approved in principle. This matter will be finalised and ratified by the incoming committee and feedback given to members. Note that these changes will only apply as from 1 January 2021. A possible decision on members who do not eat at monthly meetings to not pay for the attendance of meetings is also to be taken by the incoming committee.

9. DONATIONS: We expressed our sincere appreciation to all members have made donations during 2019 as well as those who had already donated for 2020. This helps tremendously to sustain club administration matters and our conservation efforts.

10. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE FOR 2020: The list of members who had accepted responsibility to serve on the committee for the next year and completed the appropriate nomination form was submitted to members at the AGM. These members are: Chris Cheetham, Carin Malan, Danie Morkel, Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, Helé Oosthuizen, Jenny Parsons, Steve Peck, Carl Swart and Brian Taylor. A meeting will be held at the Arabella Hotel on Monday 16 March when decision regarding the allocation of portfolios on the committee and some of the outstanding issues mentioned before will be taken.

GENERAL: No submissions for discussion under general were received by Friday 6 March and none were noted at the AGM. The meeting was therefore declared closed. Dinner sponsored by the committee was served.

15 March 2020.


 

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