February first, 2010, was a very exciting and rewarding day for the Virtual Region of the SANParks Honorary Rangers. The go ahead to operate formally as a region was given. The inauguration of the region at the Golden Gate Indaba later this year, during May, was indeed a proud moment. This region is the first HR region to have membership of folk living overseas.
It was a long and hard road to get to that point of becoming a formal region – but perseverance certainly paid off. Thank you to those who walked this road with us, especially the moddies; and here we must also mention Nedret and Glenn at SANParks who were always so very supportive and enthusiastic.
As a fledgling region we have fared well over the past 9 months dealing with our teething issues and setting into place the necessary administrative structures needed to ensure the region will be well run and administered within the guidelines laid down by the NEC and SANParks.
Within a month of becoming a formal region, we held our first, and biggest, project of the year – Cricket@Skukuza 2010; a resounding success which not only raised funds for the region but forged good ties with many forum members and SANParks. The Cricket resulted in a very successful fundraising effort in the form of the Online Auctions and other smaller fund raising efforts have taken place during the past 9 months. It is good to see the forum members so involved.
The Mapungubwe Course, held on the 10th of April in Pretoria was attended by 43 Forumites and HRs. And another exciting project given the go ahead by SANParks during the past year was the permission for the forum community to have their own logo.
The forum community has also played a significant role in the national anti poaching drive.
During the six months April to September, the VHRs spent a total of 4878 hours doing service to SANParks on both the website and projects. This totals to an amount in rands of R721700.00
The total direct and indirect contribution for the 6 months by the region totals to R798206.00
The VHRs have committed to the following projects:
• National project for ranger support
• SANParks Conservation Fund
• Bathouses in Kruger
• Educational posters for some parks
• Letaba caravan
• Binoculars and books for guides in Kgalagadi
• Reading materials for Kgalagadi staff
Next week, 4 guide books and a pair of binoculars each will be sent to Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park to be distributed amongst the 11 guides there. The region has also contributed towards a caravan to be stationed at Letaba and used by PDI HRs as they are in need of accommodation in the Park so they can contribute their share of duty in Kruger.
Between 1 February 2010 - 22 November 2010, the Virtual region raised a sum total of R48613.46. Since then further donations have come in.
Perhaps the most exciting achievement of the past 9 months has been the NEC’s agreement that we open our region to membership of other than that of moderators. A whole new exciting era now opens for the VHRs. We foresee this region only going from strength to strength and really making its mark within the HR Corps.
We, as a region, are extremely appreciative to the forum members who enthusiastically, and very generously, support and initiate fund raising efforts and projects. Without their hard work and contributions our region, and SANParks, would be the poorer. A heartfelt thank you to each and every forum member who has supported the Virtual region this past year, and to those of you who have, in so many various ways, contributed to SANParks via these forums.