As the second year of operation of the Virtual region of the SANParks Honorary Rangers draws to a close, it is with pleasure that I present the Annual Chairperson’s Report for 2011.
The Virtual region was established as an HR region to serve the SANParks forums and website, and to enable forum members to initiate, and be involved in, projects for the benefit of SANParks and their work. The SANParks Honorary Rangers is the only body SANParks recognises to raise funds. The HR corp works within a Code of Conduct and Constitution agreed to with SANParks. All financial records are audited annually.
When the Virtual region was first formed beginning 2010, only forum moderators were allowed to apply for membership. At the end of last year, the HR NEC agreed that the region may open membership to members of the SANParks forums. This has meant that the region has grown in membership to 13. SANParks forum members who meet the criteria for membership of the Virtual region and would like to be actively involved in projects and fund raising, and/or have other talents the region will benefit from, are warmly invited, and encouraged, to join.
All work done by HRs for SANParks and for the HR organization, is quantified on a quarterly basis. This enables the HRs and SANParks to be aware (and appreciate) of the value of the contribution made by HRs. As at the end of September 2011, the YTD 3rd quarterly stats returned by the VHRs totalled a contribution to the value of R1 269 088.56, in which 6725 hours had been recorded for working on the website/forums with those totalling to a value of R1 008 750.00. HRs in the Virtual region also contribute by doing duty in the parks and in many other ways.
The following funds and donations were raised by forum members under the wing of the Virtual region during this year:
- On-line Auctions:- R5837.44
- Kids to Marakele:- R69473.30 (A huge thank you to the 4X4 Community forum for their wonderful donations to this project!)
- Anti Poaching:- R15862.00
- Cricket 2011:- R15496.00
- Donations:- R7000 in cash and garden furniture for Marakele to the value of R2100
- GivenGain projects received via the website a total of:- R48343.55
- KTP warm clothing drive:- At least 9 huge boxes and 22 black bags full of clothes have been handed to folk in Welkom, 2 in KTP itself, 1 at Askham, 1 at Rietfontein and 1 in Botswana, and to Klein and Groot Meir children. Details of these will be reported in the KTP forum.
- Anti poaching collection tins were distributed at the Getaway show.
- Binoculars, torches, memory sticks and a cricket kit were donated to SANParks.
There are projects that are currently being run on the forums – a) collecting funds for a mobile webcam for SANParks E Biz, and b) a collection for a KTP ranger who was bitten by a lion.
The Virtual region supported the following during this year:-
- Counter poaching patrol boat working in Olifants Gorge, KNP – R5000 towards running costs.
- Three camera traps for KTP to assist with counter poaching, tourism/activities and scientific studies, as well as bring pictures to the forums of rare sightings – R7200.00
- Four rangers were sponsored a clandestine counter poaching operations course – R8000.00
- One hundred and twenty children visited Marakele as the start of the Kids to Marakele project. It is now holiday season, and as soon as the new year starts, many more children will visit the park as a result of this effort.
Financially the region is now in a good position to continue, and expand, the support of projects that need funding. Monies raised for a specific project are only channelled to that project. In the new year we plan to focus on building a national project with SANParks to assist more children to visit the parks and develop a love for nature and conservation. It is hoped this will also extend to using the forums to educate children in conservation. We would also like to support the smaller parks more.
All the above is only made possible by the amazing support of the forum community; and to all those who have contributed, a heartfelt thank you – you have helped make a difference. Please never hesitate to post an idea on the forums, or if you would rather, to PM one of the VHRs. We need you, your ideas, and your support in whichever way you are able to give it. We are all working towards the same goal: supporting SANParks in their conservation efforts.
I would like to thank the VHR RMC (regional management committee) for their hard work this year; and to all the members of the region – a huge thank you to you for your tireless work and support.
May we all look forward to a wonderful, productive year in 2012 where we more than double the efforts of this region.
Wishing you all a wonderful, safe and restful holiday season.