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MINUTES OF THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2018

Posted on the 12th March 2018

MINUTES OF THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON 19 FEBRUARY 2018.
WELCOME
Anton welcomed everyone and a moment of silence was observed in the memory of our friends Rob Martin and Conrad van Heerden whom we had lost during the last year.
The minutes of the 2017 AGM were taken as read.

AGM APOLOGIES
Louis & Angelika Alberts, Jane Angus, Titia Ballot, Charel & Marlien Bruwer, Di Cartner, Chris Cheetham, Gary Combrink, Wilfred & Marcia Crous, Horton & Cristine Grifffiths, Elsabe & Richard Ketteringham, Robin Lapping, Louise Makepeace, Dawid Malan, Richard Masson, Colleen Naude, Di Parker, Steve Peck, Almari Robbertse, Jill Salmon, Jill Shapland Smit, Frank & Annie Spratt, Cynthia Strunck, Carl & Madeleine Swart, Aldorette Styger, Peter Theron, Manie van den Heever, Wilmien van Heerden.

MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE
Barbara Baughan, Keith Baughan, Ruth Bester, Paula Combrink, Jeremy David, Anita de Jager, Fanie Lombard, Vivie Lombard, Tobie Louw, Carin Malan, Charles Naude, Anton Odendal, Elaine Odendal, Helé Oosthuizen, Marthinus Potgieter, Nida Potgieter, Cherry Ronbeck, Hugo Slabbert, Aldorette Styger, Viktor Styger, Brian Taylor, Carol van Hoogstraten, Anthony van Hoogstraten, Jennie Westwater.

SUMMARY - POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ON PROGRESS WITH THE BLO CAMPAIGN ON THE CONSERVATION OF OUR COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES
Anton reviewed progress with the project.
- The identification of key breeding spots of African Oystercatchers & White-fronted Plovers along Overstrand beaches went well during the summer of 2017/ 2018 and we have a fair idea of key breeding sites along our coastline. It was decided to appoint “Oystercatcher Champions” before the next summer – these will be individuals at specific spots along our coast who will take responsibility for the implementation of the educational campaigns at their home patches. Training on this will be done by September.

- The educational campaigns (posters, brochures, media releases, etc) developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust will be adapted for our purposes and implemented at the key breeding sites during the summer of 2018/ 2019. Quotations for the development of these resources have been received and sponsors are now being sought.

- The undertaking more regular Co-ordinated Waterbird (CWAC) Counts along the Uilenkraals-, Klein- and Bot River estuaries is currently under investigation.

- Fishing line bins will be set up at 50 sites to be identified along the Overstrand coastline. Several sites have already been identified and John Kieser of Plastics SA has committed to have these bins produced for us free of charge. 

- The setting up of cigarette butt bins along our coastline is under investigation and consultations in this regard are in progress with Whale Coast Conservation, the Overstrand municipality and the Onrus Litter Ladies. We obtained permission from the meeting to make a R 500.00 donation to the Litter Ladies.

- Huge progress has been made with the clearing of marine litter at specific problematic hotspots identified by Antonio de Sylva-Swart of the Coastal Cleanup Conservation Trust. Five monthly coastal cleanups have already been undertaken and are being managed by Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen.

- A collaborative partnership had been forged with Narina Howard of the Recycle Swop Shop and a group of their children will be participating in these cleanups on a regular basis. A budget of R 400.00 per month for refreshments for these children is in operation and needs to be approved by the committee.

- A decision was taken to create an “Oystercatcher Hero of the Month award”. This will be for community members who make a significant contribution to the conservation of our coastline and estuaries. Narina Howard of the Recycle Swop Shop is the first recipient of this award and a certificate was handed over to her at the AGM. She also receives a year’s free membership of BirdLife Overberg.

- The BirdLife South Africa Bird of the Year 2018 material & resources on the African Black Oystercatcher will be distributed to as many schools as possible in our region. The four BLO identification brochures on the common birds of the Western Cape will also be disseminated to children at these schools and quotations for the reprinting of these brochures have been obtained.

- The budgets for these various conservation projects were discussed at the meeting and these represent a minimum total of R 50,000.00 per annum, excluding salary for a person to be appointed to manage this process. A budget regarding the latter issue will be discussed by the committee and feedback will be given to members at a later stage.

- Good progress was made with the identification of potential sponsors. An interview was undertaken with John Kieser of Plastics SA and this resulted in the provision of plastic bags for coastal cleanups, as well as the production of fishing line bins. John will also take our budgets to CEOs in the plastics industry. An interview was also undertaken with a representative of the environmental division of the Overstrand municipality regarding future collaboration. An application for funding has been submitted to the IBA division of BirdLife South Africa. A request for a presentation to Rotary Hermanus has been sent. Applications for funding will also be submitted to the local municipality’s annual Grant-in-Aid program and the Department of Agriculture’s Land care program. The possibility of presenting workshops as fundraising events is also being considered.

- 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.

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 2018 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.
Kindly ensure that RSVP's be done by 12h00 on the Friday before monthly meetings. A unanimous decision was taken to increase the catering costs to R 100.00 per head. A decision was also taken that members who confirm wanting to eat at the meetings and then do not pitch without a legitimate excuse will be required to pay for such meal by placing the money in an honesty box at a future meeting.

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. A letter of appreciation will be forwarded to the manager.

SPEAKERS CONFIRMED PROVISIONALLY FOR 2018: The list of confirmed speakers is available in the schedule of events under events on the club website. Otto Schmidt will be our guest speaker on 12 March when he will talk on “Searching for rare and endemic or near-endemic species in Namibia”. This promises to be a great event, so kindly support it. 

2. DAY AND WEEKEND OUTINGS
We again had a very successful year in this regard 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 outing to take pressure off Anton and Chris. The list of outings is available in the schedule of events under events on the club website.
A list of potential destinations for weekend and midweek outings had been forwarded on the BLOBirdNet. Kindly forward your preferences by return email.
A decision was also taken 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 for other people or members.

3. ACTIVITIES NOT DIRECTLY CLUB RELATED
# Anton started with a birding column entitled DIE VALKOOG in the LANDBOUWEEKBLAD in March 2017 and articles are published monthly. The first quarterly column also appeared in the January 2018 edition of COUNTRY LIFE, and an article on Punda Maria will appear in the April edition.

# Fourteen Flight for Birders identification and conservation courses were presented at Sedgefield (2), Hermanus (2), Somerset West, Wellington, Langebaan, Bosheuwel EE Centre in the Agulhas National Park, Intaka Island, Century City (3), Stellenbosch, Hartenbos and Montagu. A workshop on the birds of the Overstrand and a talk entitled “The Art of deception – The Brood Parasites of South Africa” also presented at the Hermanus FynArts festival. Five further talks to bird clubs and informal groupings.
Also note that a course at Fernkloof will be presented as a BLO membership drive on 9 and 10 March. Kindly assist us by getting friends, family members and colleagues to attend in an attempt to get new (and hopefully younger people) to become members.

# Two birdfinder web pages were launched: “Slow birding at coastal paths along rocky shores – the Onrus and Vermont experience” and “Celebrating birding at the De Mond Nature Reserve”. It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain sponsorship to complete similar projects in other target areas in the Western Cape Province and members are requested to assist in this regard by suggesting potential sponsors or donors. We have several project proposals with budgets in place, so kindly talk to us in this regard.

# 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. 

4. EDUCATION:
# The four bird identification brochures are still being handed out at schools and bird courses. Refer to the quotations received above.

# The BirdLife South Africa posters and educational resources on the Bird of the Year (Lappet-faced Vulture) were disseminated to several schools in the region. We will do the same during 2018 – refer to comments above.

# An environmental education workshop by the Western Cape Birding Forum was presented by Carin and Anton, and also attended by Carl. This holds great promise as a variety of collaborative protects between bird clubs are being considered

# See the action plan for Conservation during 2018 above.

5. CONSERVATION
5.1 OPPOSING THE APPLICATION FOR A PERMIT FOR 4X4 TOURS BY STAFF OF THE ARNISTON SPA ALONG BEACHES IN THE REGION. Our appeal against this ridiculous application together with other agencies were successful in that the application was turned down. 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. We have attended most of these public meetings and have submitted written opposition to the proposed developments in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. We will continue with our support for the “Hands of Fernkloof Nature Reserve” campaign if needed.

5.3 SUPPORT FOR THE SA BIRD ATLAS PROJECT (SABAP2). Members are encouraged to participate in the BirdLasser project and it is proposed that a workshop in this regard be presented soon. 

6. WESTERN CAPE BIRDING FORUM. Anton and Carin had now resigned from the management of this Forum in view of spending more time on our conservation campaigns and ordinary birding. Representative of BLO will however continue attending these meetings.

6. COMMUNICATION:
# Communication through the BLOBirdNet continues and is doing well, even though there are several new members who have not yet registered on the BirdNet. This is creating unnecessary administration and time-wasting and all members are requested to register with the service. Formal invitations will again be forwarded to members. Note that we still need a volunteer to serve as moderator of the BirdNet.

# 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 op outings on short notice – this is proving to be extremely popular. All members are invited to contact Paula in view of joining the group

# 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.

# Our Facebook accounts for BirdLife Overberg and Flight for Birders will continue, but the Western Cape Birding Facebook page will be closed down shortly to save time for Anton. This is hugely successful and has more than tripled 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. 

7. 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. 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 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 five years.

7.MEMBERSHIP FEES - 2018: Membership fees were discussed and ratified at the AGM. The following increases were decided upon. Individual membership for those younger than 60 years of age: R 215.00. Individual membership for those older than 60 years of age: R 155.00. Family members (Spouses): R 95.00. Members who had not yet paid their membership fees for 2018 are requested to do so at their earliest possible convenience.

8. DONATIONS: We express our sincere appreciation to all members have made donations during 2017.

10. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE FOR 2018: Major changes in this regard are envisaged as several committee members have indicated that they will downscale their involvement. A circular has been sent out to request members to become involved in the management of the club. Kindly consider supporting us in this regard. Negotiations in this regard are ongoing.

Anton indicates that he will stand down as Chairman of BirdLife Overberg after the AGM 2019.

We thank all members of the 2017 committee for their dedication and hard work during the year.
Anton
12 March 2018.

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