Avontuur Sustainable Agriculture

Winter School 2015

Avontuur saw a bundle of  young happy faces during the field visit to learn more about healthy soil, healthy ecosystem and healthy food.

After an informative session in our Nieuwoudtville offices we took a drive to Avontuur to do some practical work with the young stars who were participating in the Winter School Programme run by Indigo Development & Change a local NGO. We measured earthworm activity on the soil, did some erosion control work and planted a few lines of garlic. We closed the day in style sitting on the rocks at the river bank reflecting on the day.

Earthworm measurements

Group of local learners and the EMG team measuring earthworm activity in the soil at Avontuur during the week of 8th of July 2015.

Black Harriers breed on Avontuur

This summer a nesting pair of Black Harriers bred out four youngsters on Avontuur. They chose a remote site, and would probably not have been observed if not for the satellite tracking device fitted to the female a year before in the West Coast National Park. PhD student Marie-Sophie Garcia-Heras tracked them down, and was able to monitor the growth of the nestlings. In this picture the male Black Harrier is released after being measured.

GEF Small Grants Project makes good progress

In 2013 we implemented the first phase of a soil and water conservation project that includes significant activities on Avontuur. The project was launched at a well-attended workshop at Avontuur on 11 May 2013. In the course of the winter the team of Andre van Wyk, Areefa Tietis, Cynthia Coetzee, Andries Opperman and Moeti Phala constructed a series of check-dams and micro-catchments on the more degraded part of Avontuur, with very impressive results (see our photo gallery).

Related resources

+ Erosion Control Workshop report

Volunteers

Looking for a an opportunity to make a contribution to conservation? We are willing to host volunteers who would like to undertake research or conservation work on Avontuur (minimum 2 months). We can provide supervision and basic accommodation, but are not able to pay volunteers for their work.

Research opportunities on Avontuur

Avontuur has been the site of some exciting research in the past years on subjects as diverse as solitary bees, soil erosion and Black Harriers. We are willing to collaborate with students and senior researchers. Our soils are the most under-researched part of the environment, and if your research interest relates to soils crusts or earthworms, please let us know. For all research-related queries please contact Noel Oettle dryland@global.co.za.