During a recent scheduled tour hosted by our VKK 222 (Visual and cultural studies) Lecturer, I had the privilege to visit the Faerie Glen Nature Persevere for the first time and saw how much I was missing out on. I could not believe that there was this beautiful and natural space of nature hiding away just 30 minutes from my home, and I was sadly unaware. The Reserve forms part of the Bronberg Conservation area which was declared in 1980. It covers an area of 128ha, mostly following the Moreleta Spruit while the northern border is formed by a section of the Bronberg Mountains.
I thoroughly enjoyed escaping the city life for a few hours. As we walked on 1 of the 3 available hiking trails (The Acacia trail) we all stayed silent every 30 minutes to listen to the sounds around us and how it changed as we went further into the reserve. The reserve has recorded more than 150 bird species and the more we walked the more of those birds could be heard over the moving cars on the high way and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Small mammals such as mongoose, hedgehogs, hares, porcupines, cape clawless otter, bush babies and small spotted genets are among some of the wildlife found on the reserve but they are known to be difficult to track down. We were not lucky enough to see most of these animals, what we did see a lot of however were people walking their dogs. That is allowed in the reserve as long as they are kept on a leash.
Above the animal species there are also countless flower and tree species found over the reserve and that became an environmental concern I soon discovered. I never had any idea how many foreign species of plants and trees we have in South Africa and that they actually pose a threat to our own species of plants and trees. Luckily this is being addressed in Faerie Glen by an organization called The Friends of Faerie Glen Nature Reserve who are focused on promoting the well-being of the nature reserve.
In doing so they have launched invasive plant hacks at regular intervals to conserve and restore the indigenous vegetation in the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve. They are removing the foreign species of plants and trees that pose a risk to our indigenous habitat and then cover the remaining parts of the foreign trees/plants with a blue paint to indicate a foreign species. This paint then also acts as a poison to prevent the species of plant/tree to grow again. This is a concern that should not just be addressed in parks and reserves but is something you can implement in your own garden at home with a little education.
Faerie Glen is really a breakaway opportunity to the surrounding community to take a step back from the city life and just remember the beauty that can be found in nature. Some many people are there every weekend hiking with their families and having a picnic or taking their dogs for a walk resulting in exercise and a healthy and active life for all parties involved. I would definitely return there more as I crave blocking out this ‘human’ created jungle we live in and escape to the world as it was at the beginning of creation. I think it would be great if fun runs and family days could be held at the reserve to make more people in the community aware of the reserve and the natural environment as a whole.
In the society we live in today it is easy to forget the simple beauty that lies in hearing birds and bees and seeing two of three butterflies zoom past. It should become part of our lives to find and appreciate these little things. Seeing as today (22 April) is in fact Earth day we should all make the effort to get out of the house and leave the thoughts of work, bills and the economy behind and just enjoy the world around you by taking a hike or driving out the have a family picnic.
If we don’t make the effort to appreciate and protect the planet we live on today our future generations might not be so lucky and be able to experience it for themselves. So this Earth day don’t just talk the talk of conservation but walk the walk and take action.
We need to change the way we live #EARTHDAY
Photo credits – Vincent Mc Cormick