March 14, 2018 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Award winning authors, Professor George Branch and his wife Margo, enthralled over 100 guests at the launch of their revised edition of Living Shores.  Their first book was published in 1981 and has been a standard reference for marine scientists and enthusiasts, but as Margo explained, “since then three key things happened – computers, digital photography and satellites; and now we can even measure continental drift.” With all the newly revealed information and climate change impacts, the book has been reworked to incorporate the many dramatic changes that our oceans and coasts have undergone over the past few decades.

Emeritus Professor George Branch started his scientific career studying limpets leading to a ground breaking paper on how limpets tend to their own garden patch. From there his keenly developed eye then looked at the different interactions he witnessed on the rocky shores and beyond. He studied invasive mussels, watched how prawns played and investigated algae and our impacts of commercial harvesting.  This led to involvement with the development of a new fisheries policy and the development of Marine Protected Areas. He met Margo at University of Cape Town and together they became the authorities on the smaller marine world. Margo is an accomplished author and illustrator with many books behind her name on topics such as marine, fynbos and mushrooms. Her passion is to instil conservation ethics by showing the wonder of the natural world.

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March 08, 2018 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

The Two Oceans Aquarium team recently did a road show to establish drop off points along the coastline and brief everyone on what to do should they find a stranded turtle. Guests at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary learnt what to do with a turtle and what they can do from an environmental perspective every day to help turtles and all our marine life. Key messages included not using straws, balloons, plastic bags or water bottles, cutting any circular plastic loops that could entangle animals, and correct disposal of cigarette butts, classified as one of the worst pollutants.

The team included Talitha Noble (Conservation co-ordinator and head of turtle rehab), Hayley McLellan (Environmental Campaigner and brainchild of the ‘Rethink the Bag Campaign’), Inge Adams (WWF intern at the Aquarium and Turtle Princess) and Zoku the fluffy toy (turtle mascot and cuddle buddy).

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February 28, 2018 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Wilfred Chivell and Susan Visagie from Marine Dynamics recently travelled to the remote and rugged islands off the South of New Zealand.  Driven by Wilfred’s quest to see all the penguin species of the world, he hoped to encounter the Snares, Erect Crested, Royal and Fiordland. The trip with Heritage Expeditions had some of the best weather experienced meaning they could access all islands even though they never saw the sun. Wilfred was able to tick off the four penguins on his bucket list and in fact saw ten species of penguin and 13 albatross, in all 109 bird species.

At the February marine evening at the Great White House with over 100 guests, Susan shared the outline of the journey and the experience of what it felt like being on such a trip while Wilfred shared more on the birds encountered. The islands visited included Snares, Auckland, Macquarie, Campbell, Antipodes, Bounty and Chatham. Seeing such remote and still pristine areas reminded all of the need to protect these unique habitats.

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World Wetlands Day 2018

February 02, 2018 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme (DEEP) met for their first lesson of the year on wetlands. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February.

The theme for 2018 is "Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future" and the students were encouraged to reduce their school’s water bill by 10% every month to avoid water restrictions in their respective areas.

Why should we care about Wetlands?

A wetland is an area of land saturated with water either permanently or seasonally such as marshes, swamps, floodplains. Sadly, lots of wetlands have been degraded to accommodate the growing numbers of human population in the urban areas.

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January 31, 2018 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Pinkey Ngewu of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) was very excited to receive the FGASA Guide of the Year award at their recently held AGM. “The award was based on the years I have been with FGASA which is from 2006, the work I did at De Hoop Nature Reserve as an educator there running a holiday programme for children and the DICT’s Environmental Education Programme. It is a recognition for the difference I am making through education to a younger generation and it is a privilege to be recognised in this way,” said Pinkey who received a certificate and a monetary award.

Pinkey joined the Dyer Island Conservation Trust in October 2015 and assists with administration, fundraising, projects and education. Pinkey is a marine and nature guide with a diploma in Nature Conservation.

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African penguin release 27 December 2017

December 28, 2017 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

It is always an emotional moment when we send these iconic, ocean warriors back to the big blue. It is literally a process of;

Blood - They are feisty and scared when they are admitted, biting the hands that feed them is a natural response.
Sweat - Cleaning, cleaning and more scrubbing to keep the penguin hospital in tip-top shape for the penguin patients.
Tears - On the day we return them to the wide open blue space, we shed a tear, because we made a difference, we gave them a second chance.

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African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary: First 5km Fun Run!

December 21, 2017 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Ready, set, go! And the walkers and runners, dogs too, were off on the first 5km fun walk/run in aid of the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS)

Based in Gansbaai, the APSS is a critical seabird rehabilitation facility with a special focus on the endangered African penguin. APSS is a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust that has since 2006 been active in penguin conservation measures including a penguin nest project that replaces their natural burrows of guano. A history of guano removal for agricultural fertiliser has left the penguins exposed to the elements and predators and the nest or penguin ‘homes’ are critical to their breeding success.

This family friendly event held on the 21st December attracted just over a hundred participants. Although an untimed run, the first four men and women were recognised as was the first dog, Layla. Louw Burger was the first man to arrive with a time of 20min15. The next three were all juniors: 2nd Daniel Erasmus, 3rd Hanro Coetzee, 4th DeWet Nel. First lady, also a junior, was Suzaan van Vuuren, 2nd Jansie Smith, 3rd Talitha van Vuuren, 4th Nina Martin. Prizes included eco trips with Dyer Island Cruises and meals at the Great White House and some penguin scarves for the children. The event was kindly covered by Worcester radio bring a festive spirit to the morning.

The event held two objectives – critical fundraising and awareness of the African Penguin and its endangered status. Brenda du Toit, Public Relations, highlighted the fact that the penguins belong to all the community and that we can all play a part. As South Africa’s endemic species, the APSS strives to turn around their possible extinction by returning penguins they have saved from injuries, disease or pollution, back to their natural habitat where they can continue to breed. “As the first event, we did this on a small scale but we will make it an annual event on the calendar, and grow accordingly,” said Du Toit.  “CEO of the Dyer island Conservation Trust, Wilfred Chivell, was there to participate. This event was a long held dream for him to have as was the penguin sanctuary.”

Special thanks are extended to all participants and volunteers who gave of their time to make the morning a success. Special thanks to sponsors: Marine Dynamics; Dyer Island Cruises; Great White House; Worcester Radio; Gerhard van der Merwe who arranged financial contributions from Sterling Private Wealth, Kia Hermanus, Boxman and Hermanus Dental Practice and Gansbaai Tourism for loaning us some tables.

The APSS is open daily from 9am to 4pm with a 3pm feeding time. Coffee and curio shop onsite and entrance is free although donations are welcome.


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PRESS RELEASE: Volkswagen and Dyer Island Conservation Trust turn on the lights of Joburg’s first Lighthouse

December 04, 2017

To create awareness for the conservation efforts of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Volkswagen brought the ocean to Joburg and created the Dyer Island Inland Lighthouse – Joburg’s first lighthouse.

While lighthouses traditionally face out to sea, warning sailors of approaching land, Volkswagen created the Dyer Island Inland Lighthouse facing in the opposite direction to enlighten South Africans of the dangers of plastic waste to our oceans and its creatures.

The symbolic lighthouse was built using recycled plastic bottles, creating a spectacular light installation and went up in The Zone @Rosebank from 30 November until 3 December 2017. The purpose of the installation was to educate South Africans about the importance of conservation efforts focused on our fragile marine eco-system, just before Joburgers flock to the beaches for the Festive Season. Not only that, the lighthouse rewarded visitors who dropped plastic bottles or waste into the recycling bin by shining its lights brightly in gratitude.

The interactive installation also encouraged passers by to take a brave stand against plastic waste by taking a picture in the plastic-waste created Jellyfish Insta-booth and sharing these on social media as a commitment to our oceans. For those wanting to dive right in and support the cause - and take home a token - they could donate towards the trust at the craft table. Here local crafters turned trash into treasure by creating the marine icons of Dyer Island, like penguins and sharks, out of the very material putting their futures in danger. 

To spark conversation on social media, Volkswagen also asked South Africans to share their wishes for the world by using #VWWishForTheWorld. “Volkswagen’s wish for the world is to be at the forefront of creating a more sustainable future and we are humbled to work with passionate partners like the Dyer Island Conservation Trust who help us make this wish come true,” commented Meredith Kelly, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen South Africa, partners and supporters of Dyer Island and the ocean’s future.

The team from the Dyer Island Conservation Trust that attended included shark biologist Alison Towner, educator Pinkey Ngewu and Brenda du Toit. “This was an incredible opportunity to highlight our conservation work and draw attention to Gansbaai and our unique ecosystem. Marine pollution is top of mind at the moment especially with the current nurdle disaster - the plastic pellets that are washing up along the coastline after a spill in Durban. To be able to take this message inland is critical and we are grateful to Volkswagen for arranging this campaign. Over and above their considerable support to the Trust since 2011, Volkswagen donated R250 for every guest attending raising a further R15 000 and R3026 was raised by the donations towards the work of the local crafters,” added du Toit.

Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean - Ryunosuke Satoro

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Marine Month Competition Winners 2017

November 20, 2017 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Marine Dynamics & Dyer Island Cruises together with their environmental project, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, and with the support of conservation partner, the Overstrand Municipality, held a competition with the schools in the Cape Whale Coast area - from Kleinmond to Gansbaai - to celebrate national marine month. Marine Month held every October is a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of our oceans. 

The competition comprises of three categories for the various age groups that include colouring in, poetry and an essay or short film. Pinkey Ngewu from the Dyer Island Conservation Trust visited schools in the Overstrand area during the month of September to inform learners about the competition. The main objectives are education and awareness to students about the ocean systems, our MARINE ENVIRONMENT and the MARINE BIG 5. In the process, the team hopes to inspire the youth to take care of our oceans and our environment. Dyer Island Cruises sponsored a boat trip for the top 30 winners to provide the opportunity to see first-hand the unique Dyer Island ecosystem right on their doorstep. The group of winners headed out on Dream Catcher for a whale watching tour. To the delight of the group, the southern right whales were just outside Kleinbaai harbour. Also on this one we spotted the whale just shortly after launching from the harbour in Kleinbaai. After spending a little while with the whales the group headed past the shark cage diving boats, the Cape Fur seal colony on Geyser Rock and were awed at the variety of seabirds around Dyer Island.

Winners of the 2017 Marine Month competition:

Category 1: Colouring

1st Linamandla Loloni from Masakhane Primary School
2nd Nina Strydom from Laerskool Gansbaai
3rd Rachel Horn from Okkie Smuts Primary

Highly Commended:

Mia Lindes
Gabriella Hogan
Cayleb Jenson
Emma Privett
Joy Booysen
Naomi Mão-Chieu
Joanna Burmann
Glenwill Beyers
Hellen Ackermann
Sinothando Zenzile
Onikayo Npengu
Merichen May

Category 2: Poetry

1st Daniel Cornell from Curro
2nd Tsoanelo Haarhof from Gansbaai Primêr
3rd Lara Strydom from Laerskool Gansbaai

Highly Commended:

Athulile Shumane
Lukhanyo Ndulumbano
Andre Geerdts
Milethea Daniels
Oliver Winfield
Casandra Saayman
Jake Van Gemert

Category 3: Essay

1st Aimelize Geerdts from Gansbaai Academia
2nd Jordan Linehan from Gansbaai Academia
3rd Zikhona Ntlahla from Gansbaai Academia

Highly Commended:

Lerato Hermanus
Odwa Mntukaziwa
Caitlin van Eeden

The marine month competition in partnership with the Overstrand Municipality and sponsored by Dyer Island Cruises , the Department of Environmental Affairs & DP .

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November 06, 2017 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Overstrand Muncipality and South African Shark Conservancy are working on a project to collect nurdles in the Overstrand area as part of a larger study to investigate the distribution and movement of nurdles along the entire South African coast following a disastrous spill in the Durban Harbour.

Please help us to spread the word, clean up wherever possible and monitor our coastline!

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