2016 has been an interesting and successful year for the WNC.
Ken Maud instigated a drive to attract new members which has been very successful, with 33 new members being added this year, our current membership standing at 89. We have also added two new categories of membership, Corporate and Founder, we have 3 Founder and 3 Corporate and we have WWS, LWS as associate members.
The committee has decided to maintain the ordinary membership fee at ZAR250. During this year the Exco took a decision to make some adjustment to our general meeting format - it was decided to start earlier, to limit the number of speakers and to end the formal part of the meeting by 4pm and follow this immediately with a braai. This decision was taken partly because the majority of our members have far to drive, as well as our belief that the ?social event' after the meeting is very important, allowing members time to interact and 'network.' Another innovation - having refreshments available throughout the meeting and running an honesty bar.
I believe these small changes have proved successful and been welcomed by the membership, shown by increased attendances and certainly the numbers staying for the 'social side.'
Since I joined the WNC some 7 years ago, there has been a succession of very interesting visiting and local speakers on a wide variety of subjects.
This year has been no different and we have had really outstanding speakers - Dr Peter Caldwell on the spread of Canine Distemper which has affected Lions, Wild Dogs, Leopards and other wildlife as well as domestic animals; Corne Du Plessis' emotive and passionate talk on the unintended consequences of the Botswana Hunting Ban; Bertus van Zyl on the fascinating subject of bees and their importance to our ecology; Birding expert Warwick Tarbuton uncovering new information on Woodland King?sher migration; Kassie Knoetze on security (& how important is that) Tinus De Klerk on Bee Farming & Honey, and 3 wonderful speakers, Peter Miles, Adri Kitshoff Botha and Ant Baber each with a different slant on the Importance of Hunting in Conservation; Paul van As on Lightning and the many myths surrounding it; great locals too, Clive Walker with the fascinating story of his new book River Of Gold, Richard Wadley with a truly spellbinding history of The New Belgium Block and let's not forget the presentation by Brad Schroeder and Greg Canning on their brave attempt to run the Great Wall of China marathon and Comrades Ultra within a week of each other, never mind all the travelling in-between - a step too far but a great effort and a most entertaining talk!
A stellar group with more lined-up for next year. Conservation Education is a key area for the WNC and while we have not provided any financial assistance this year, the matter has been discussed at length by the Exco and we are working to identify suitable candidates and or projects in this coming year. It is also planned to work closely with other relevent organisations, STWR, WWS and even the Biosphere so that there is no unnecessary duplication of effort.
As you are aware we were having problems with our website as well as our general communications. We took the decision to move our internet host to Antoinette Swanevelder's local Unique Design company. This is already showing positive results with our various communications going out quickly and accurately. In order to get our general communication up and running effciently I took the decision to put our website upgrade on the back-burner.
However Antoinette is currently working on it and I anticipate this will be Finished in the new year. Although it has been a successful year for the Conservancy, the Exco itself has had a rather turbulent time, which however did not affect the running of the organisation.
The exco committee as nominated at our last AGM was:
Ken Maud (chairman)
Sue Walker ( secretary/treasurer)
Kelly Abram and myself.
Albert, Ken, Brad Schroeder and latterly Johan Botha resigned.
Following Ken's resignation in June the Exco voted me interim chair Jessica as deputy and
Brad Algar was appointed to the Exco
Subsequently, in terms of the constitution, the Exco appointed the following as members:
The Exco now consists of:
Jessica Babich (deputy chair)
Susan walker (secretary/treasurer)
In the interest of transparency, due to my personal relationship with the treasurer, I decided that it would not be right for me to be involved with the WNC finances, therefore I
have no signing powers on the bank account, the designated signatories are Sue Walker, Jessica Babich and Sue Jarman.
I would like to thank the membership, for your support and continued attendance, and the Exco for your hard work and the time and effort you have put in.
A Special thanks to Richard Wadley for organising and running the very valuable Fire Warning SMS system.
Special thanks too to Sue and Alan Jarman for hosting some of our speakers. I believe the year ends with the organisation in a strong and healthy position ready to move forward to achieving the WNC's aims and objectives in the coming year.