Stephen Coan
2 minute read
25 May 2009
00:00

Sharing biodiversity’s past

Stephen Coan

THE Balgowan Conservancy Information Centre, situated near the entrance to Michaelhouse School, was officially opened on Saturday....

THE Balgowan Conservancy Information Centre, situated near the entrance to Michaelhouse School, was officially opened on Saturday.

The new information centre is built in a log-cabin style.

“We wanted a building that was sympathetic with the environment,” said Balgowan conservancy chairman, Gavin Avey, speaking at the opening.

A local builder, Elliam Zondi, was employed by the conservancy and sent on a course to learn how to build log cabins. Sadly, Zondi died five weeks ago, just after completing the structure. He was represented at the opening by his two daughters, Thembeka and Nombulelo.

The centre is a joint project between the conservancy, Michaelhouse School — the centre is on property owned by the school — Wildlands Conservation Trust and Land Rover Gear. The interior of the centre features photographic and information displays designed by photo-illustrator Barry Downard detailing the biodiversity of the area and its history as well as its scenic attractions.

The Balgowan Conservancy, established in 1978 by local landowners, was the first conservancy in SA. Among its attractions are the Milestone Forest Walk, the Bush Pig Trail and the Michaelhouse Oribi Reserve. The annual Michaelhouse Mountain Bike Challenge, which takes place within the conservancy, has become a key event on the biking calendar.

An indigenous nursery has been created next to the new centre, and the Wildlands Conservation Trust’s Indigenous Trees for Life programme will be linking up with the conservancy, said Wildlands CEO Andrew Venter, who cut the ribbon on Saturday.

“It will provide a community focus for conservation and help us preserve the area’s great biodiversity so that it can be enjoyed by future generations,” said Avey.

 

■ Among the conservancy’s attractions are the Milestone Forest Walk, the Bush Pig Trail and the Michaelhouse Oribi Reserve.

 

■ The information centre features photographic and information displays designed by photo-illustrator Barry Downard detailing the area’s biodiversity and history as well as its scenic attractions.

 

■ The centre will be open from Wednesdays to Sundays.

 

■ Check the website balgowanconservancy.co.za