(Third Sunday of each month, unless otherwise stated)
SABC TV’s Professor Pink weaves fun, magic and science together - science like you never encountered it at school!
Date: Sunday 17 May
Time: 09:00 for 09:30
Venue: The Sheds @ Birdsong, Gemstone Road (directions available)
Cost: Adults: R60; kids R30
Light Pollution and Star-gazing
Date: Sunday 19 July
Allen Versfeld says excessive or badly-designed lighting not only hides the stars from view, it disrupts the behaviour of nocturnal animals, blinds passing motorists, harms human health and paradoxically can even make us more vulnerable to crime.
On the 19th plenty bright planets will be up, with the Moon only the thinnest of crescents.
Time: Talk: 14:30 for 15:00, followed by a Bring&Braai and star-gazing
Venue: The Sheds @ Birdsong, off Gemstone Road
Cost: R60 pp; R30 for kids under 12.
If you want to stay for the stargazing, bring your own braai/picnic, telescope (if you have one) and warm clothing.
Date: Sunday 16 August
Dolomite and granite. Dr Adam Bumby of the University of Pretoria unlocks the secrets of the rocks.
Ride the Rhenoster
Date: Sunday 13 September
The annual fundraiser for our conservation effort. Technical ride (not a race!)
Date: Sunday 18 October
Grasses and Veld Flowers
Date: Sunday 15 November
Arts and Crafts: Fabric printing, Paper Mache, Mosaics, Plate decorating.
“Imagine this energy scenario,” says Buddy Wells, well-known South African saxophonist, composer, and arranger. Referring to the government’s plans to spend almost R1 trillion on nuclear power and the recently announced nuclear agreements between SA and China, Russia, France and Korea, he said: “This got me thinking - what if….?
“Instead of paying that R1 trillion Rand to foreign companies to build nuclear power stations, what if we spend it on equipping the very poorest households in SA with locally-designed and -built rooftop photovoltaic panels, solar geysers and wind generators and allowing those households to sell their excess power onto the grid as German households have been doing for years?
“The nuclear power stations (if we decide to take that road) will only be online in 2030 (and most nuclear power stations run way over the estimated build time), whereas the first wind and solar panels (if enough leadership, money and manpower were thrown at their design, manufacture and distribution) would be online far earlier than that. Can we really wait till 2030 for more supply? And how long can our poorest citizens really be expected to live in such dire poverty?
“So lets do the maths. R1 trillion is R1 million x 1 million. In other words with R1 trillion we could put R1 million worth of wind or solar generators on each of the poorest one million households in SA. Or R500 000 worth on the poorest two million households….”
Worth considering, Minister Joemat-Petterson?
Music and maths? Good combination. https://buddywells.wordpress.com/
“We got our first pig as a pet in 2004,” says Leslie Stander of Pigs’n’Paws in Hennops River, “and realised that there was a need for a Pig Sanctuary in South Africa.” Too many people were buying piglets from pet shops and breeders without realising all the consequences of owning a pig, she added. “Although they make wonderful pets, they are not easily manageable, they are highly intelligent, manipulative and destructive if lonely or bored.”
PigsnPaws (a registered Non-profit Corporation) is based in Hennops River. “We take in unwanted, abused and abandoned pet pigs and give them sanctuary, allowing them to live as natural a life as possible. All our pigs are free-roaming, constantly interacting with us and one another.”
People don’t realise that ‘farm’ animals are not allowed within certain urban areas, Leslie explained. “We have taken in Pot Bellies from Sandton, had a pig flown to us from George, taken in pigs from pet shops when they could not be sold, rescued pigs abandoned on properties when people moved - which gave their neighbours plenty to complain about.”
Questioned whether neighbours in Hennops River had any concerns, Leslie replied: “People are generally supportive but we do our best to allay fears when they arise.”
A Waterbuck doe - dead, with a snare around her neck.
“The intention of a Snare Hunt is to find snares and to prevent wild animals being caught,” says Carl Pelissier, who organised the event on Freedom Day, 27 April. “It is very upsetting to find a lovely Waterbuck, dead, probably snared a couple of days earlier. We also found the nearby camping site of the poachers.”
An innovative scheme that rewards young people for collecting rubbish for recycling is making a difference in the Joe Slovo informal settlement near Lanseria Airport.
“No hand-outs,” says Lelané Brits, Chief Operating Officer of Refilwe Community Project situated next to Joe Slovo. “Ninety-two kids from the settlement have been enrolled at our Ithuteng Aftercare Centre. There is one condition: collect and bring recyclable materials each Monday. There’s a plus though: the rubbish is weighed and exchanged for ‘mulas’ which can buy stationery, personal care items and basic food stuffs in a little Swap Shop. Our goal is to teach the children that things must be earned.”
Almost two-thirds of the land in Mpumalanga is currently being mined or is the subject of mining right applications, according the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER). And now the newly-proclaimed Mabola Protected Area near Wakkerstroom could be the next fatality.
“My favourite part was holding a big scorpion in my hand!” said five year-old Brigette Versfeld of Hennops River after the local Scorpion Walk on 19 April. “And looking at the mountains.” An eye for beauty, Brigette has, for sure. The view over the grasslands to the Schurveberg range to the north is magnificent, indeed.
She and her siblings were part of the record number of scorpion “researchers” who followed Mr Scorpion, Jonathan Leeming, through the veld in the Crocodile River Reserve on 19 April.
Victor Versfeld (3) reckoned finding a scorpion under a broken rock was great, but “the best part was eating the food.” (Compliments to Jenny Cornish of The Sheds@Birdsong. She hosts many of the CRR’s events and she sets out a lovely spread to welcome visitors.)