Virtual Honorary RangersQuestions and Answers1. What is the VHRs?
The Virtual Honorary Rangers is a full and official region of the SANParks Honorary Ranger movement. As such the official name is actually SANParks Honorary Rangers: Virtual Region. Unlike the other regions (i.e. Pretoria or Lowveld), the Virtual region is not geographically based, but functions on the internet and the SANParks Website and Forums. Just like all the other regions, our aim will be to promote and support SANParks in all their parks and activities and according to SANParks policy.2. When was this HR region officially started?
At the HR Indaba held in May 2008, it was agreed in principle to the creation of the VHR region. On 1 February 2010 the election of the Regional Management Committee of the VHRs was approved by the Honorary Ranger National Executive Committee, and the Virtual region was given permission to begin operating as a formal region. The region will be formally inaugurated at the annual national Honorary Ranger Indaba, which will be held at Golden Gate National Park in May of 2010. This is the culmination of a dream of some three years in the making.3. What is the relationship between the VHRs and the SANParks Forums?
The VHRs and the SANParks Forums are inextricably linked. The purpose behind the formation of the VHR region is to empower the Forums to serve and promote SANParks in a new way. The Honorary Ranger movement is the only recognised body through which SANParks manage public support in the form of i.e. projects and fund raising. By linking the VHRs and the Forums it is now possible to run official SANParks projects on the Forums, and involve forum members (Forumites) in these.
The most of the HR regions are linked to a specific park. Marakele region is linked to Marakele NP, Addo region to Addo NP, Lowveld region to Kruger NP. In this same way the Virtual region is linked to the SANParks Website and Forums.4. What will the VHRs do for the Forums?
The VHRs will enable the Forums to make a real difference by channeling many of our ideas in to practical realities.
I.e., instead of just bemoaning the ugly reality of poaching, we as a Forum community can now organise projects and solicit donations, which will generate funds through which we can help equip trained SANParks anti-poaching staff.
The VHRs will also link the Forum community to the wider HR and SANParks body, improving the flow of information, and creating new opportunities.5. Will only the VHR members be able to participate in these VHR projects?
No, the VHRs priority goal is to open participation on a wide level to all Forumites. The VHRs will offer the official backing to Forum projects, in which Forumites will be involved in both the planning and execution stages. The VHRs will see to it that projects are kept in line with SANParks rules and objectives, promote coordination with SANParks and the Honorary Ranger movement, and ensure sound financial control.
Forumites will be enabled to get involved in projects, promote our parks, and participate in fund raising for issues such as for example; anti-poaching, guides training and the education of guests in proper behaviour in our parks. 6. Who are the current members of the VHR's?
Well, you know them all! The Mods are the VHRs. 5 mods are now qualified Honorary Rangers. They have done the full Honorary Ranger training and have been accepted as HRs. The other two moderators are busy with the qualification process and are applicant HRs. Together the 7 mods form the membership of the VHR region. There are no other VHRs.7. Can forum members become VHRs?
No, not at this stage. Only moderators can apply to be VHRs. The reasoning behind this is that as a virtual region is a very new concept for the HRs and the website, things need to be taken slowly and a step at a time. We need to proof that the region will work and be successful and add value to the HR corps and to SANParks.
Initially the focus in the VHR region is not on membership, but on opening opportunities to the Forum community to actively help promote nature conservation and SANParks.8. Will the VHRs cause 'division' on the forums?
No, the VHRs have been acting in an unofficial capacity for a couple of years now. Projects such as the Cricket, Rat Pack and AAA are all good examples of how projects initiated by Forumites will continue to run.
From now on it will in fact be easier because there will be another approved means apart from GivenGain to collect funds; namely the official VHR bank account. The funds raised now, no longer need to be placed in pre-determined SANParks projects, as was the reality due to the restrictions of the GivenGain account. Priorities and projects can now be negotiated between SANParks and the Forums.9. The VHR Regional Management Committee?
Chairperson: Dinkybird (Dalene Preston)
Other members: DuQues, Matthys and Jazil.
You can contact any of them on email: VHR@SANParks.org10. What happens now?
At the moment we will have a couple of ongoing projects. The Stiffnecks caps, which we will negociate and handle with Bush Baptist, is one.
There are also many project ideas 'on hold' until the VHR region was able to consider them, which can happen now: Advertising the Satara cam and forums more visibly at Satara and other camps; A video loop.
; Managing stock photos for SANParks; Scrapbooks. The list is very long, with only a few mentioned here.
We are in the process of opening a bank account and once that is done we can start receiving and issuing money for above mentioned and other new projects.
Its our goal to accept suggestions from forumites for projects, and support them in the implementation of these projects, not take them over. Not all projects need to be big. Each proposed project will be tested for feasibility. We do not want to smother forumites under requests for support, so we may not be able to accept all possible suggested projects.
We invite you, all the Forumites, each one of you that make this forum the very special place that it is to now join us and move forward with the VHRs and take this forum to even greater heights and continue to use and harness our passion and love for nature and conservation in support of the South African National Parks.SANParks VisionNational parks will be the pride and joy of all South Africans and of the world.SANParks MissionTo develop and manage a system of national parks that represents the biodiversity, landscapes, and associated heritage assets of South Africa for the sustainable use and benefit of all.Why we volunteerIt’s not for money, not for fame
It’s not for any personal gain
It’s just for the love of nature
To make a difference where you can
It’s just to give up of thy self
That is something you can’t buy with wealth.
It’s not for medals worn with pride
It’s just for the feeling deep inside
It’s the reward deep in your heart
It’s feeling you have been a part
Of helping others far and near
That is what makes us volunteer