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The Baviaanskloof Nature Awareness (BNA) Group is an emerging collective of young adults from Baviaanskloof Hartland farms and communities who are passionate about the area’s nature, history and diversity.

With the motto of caring for nature and sharing with people, the BNA Group wants to share their knowledge, enthusiasm and appreciation for the Baviaanskloof environment with others, from local school children to visiting tourists.

After publishing their intentions in a brochure in early 2015, the group has taken a number of steps toward realizing their vision of one day becoming a ‘go-to’ hub for sourcing local knowledge and expertise concerning the Baviaanskloof natural environment.

In this capacity, they wish to act as any of: area-specific field guides (for visitors to the kloof); local environmental educators (for youth); documenters and restorers of dwindling medicinal plant knowledge (for the benefit of community and culture); and biodiversity monitoring to assist ongoing landscape restoration and wildlife management in the Baviaanskloof  (for the benefit of conservation organizations).

Since reigniting their commitment in late 2014, members of the BNA Group have:

Walked with experienced wilderness guides to learn about nature trail interpretation and shared knowledge on medicinal plant uses
Refined vision and clarified direction
Participated in training aimed at enhancing sensory and spatial awareness in nature
Received informal training with informational booklets on the basics of nature guiding
Shared stories of new field discoveries and curiosities
Began creating a compendium of local medicinal plants
Successfully completed training with the Spirit of the Wild programme (at Bergplaas Nature Reserve), also attended by trainees from the Tracker Academy
Acted as both guest speakers and local guides for visiting university student groups (and been willing students themselves on those outings)

The BNA Group is currently in the process of:

  • Using field guide books to enhance knowledge of local flora and fauna
  • Completing the self-study Kamana Naturalist Training program
  • Testing and beginning to document the use of CyberTracker software as a tool for recording and monitoring the presence of wildlife, erosion and pollution (currently on communal land only)
  • Learning how to participate in citizen science initiatives such as SABAP2 bird atlasing
  • Organizing a meeting with local schools to discuss opportunities for engaging with pupils
  • Being trialled as local guides for the recently opened Leopard Trail (see also the recent Getaway Magazine April 2016 issue which featured members Peres and Jonathan who joined for that trail)

For further information, contributions or donations, contact: baviaansnature@gmail.com