Thicket Festival 2023

Treasuring our Terrific Thicket
7 October 2023
Friends of waters meeting invites you to the Thicket Festival
SATURDAY 7 October at Summerhill hotel. Thicket talks from 10:00 to 16:00 Stalls and information.
SATURDAY evening 19:00. Lantern Parade: Bring your own lanterns or just join us with ours.

Bush clearing threatens rare pipefish with extinction

July/August 2023 | Marion Whitehead
The sharp increase in bush clearing in the buffer zone of the Kleinemonde rivers is putting the future of the Sunshine Coast's critically endangered river pipefish in jeopardy.
The estuarine pipefish (Photo: Louw Claasens)

Bush clearing threatens critically endangered pipefish

11 May 2023 | Guy Rogers
Deteriorating water quality as farmers, miners raze catchment thicket, putting pressure on super-rare estuarine creature.
Under pressure: The estuarine pipefish (Photo: Louw Claasens)

Reading the bush

March/April 2023 | Marion Whitehead
Grazing in thicket pays dividends
Leonie and Rodney Yendall. Photo - Marion Whitehead
Leonie and Rodney Yendall. Photo: Marion Whitehead

"We depend on the land for our survival"

13 March 2023
New brochure series helps with the difficult job of restoring overgrazed land.
RRRG staff busy restoring a spekboom thicket (Photo - Mike Powell)
RRRG staff busy restoring a spekboom thicket. Photo: Mike Powell.

Save sacred Eastern Cape thicket now

9 March 2023 | Guy Rogers
The sacred and scientific have combined in a series of brochures in isiXhosa and English on how to restore the Eastern Cape’s distinctively dense and diverse vegetation, as well as the benefits of doing so.
Members of the Rhodes Restoration Research Group, Sipho Ncula and Xolani Mcobongi, transplant seedlings they have grown in the Waainek tunnel
PLANTING A SEED: Members of the Rhodes Restoration Research Group, Sipho Ncula and Xolani Mcobongi, transplant seedlings they have grown in the Waainek tunnel. Image: MARION WHITEHEAD

New thicket restoration brochure series available

 2 March 2023
Vital task of rehabilitating overgrazed, degraded land now made easier.
Thats the thicket
THAT'S THE THICKET: Healthy, intact valley thicket provides many ecosystem services, including preventing erosion and keeping rivers and dams from silting up.

Restoring damaged land with 2200 trees

17 February 2023 | Marion Whitehead
Rhodes Restoration Research Group: restoring thicket takes more than just planting some seeds in the veld.
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Luvuyo Ncula checks on some of the young trees being nurtured in the RRRG shadehouse at the Rhodes University Waainek Research Facility. Photo: Marion Whitehead

Reading the bush is vital to successful stock farming in thicket

10 February 2023 | Marion Whitehead
Farmer Leonie Yendall has a winning formula for grazing Nguni cattle in the local thicket
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Leonie Yendall of Nurney Farm, who farms with her husband Rodney, treasures the Thicket on their farm as it’s the basis of their success with Nguni cattle. Photo: Marion Whitehead.

Shed a tear for the last drops of our wetlands

2 February 2023 | Pippa Huchzermeyer and Nicky Huchzermeyer
February 2, is World Wetlands Day. Do we know what a wetland actually is, and why our survival partially depends on them? Two leading Eastern Cape-based Rhodes University wetlands researchers lay out the local and deeper issues.
World Wetlands Day DD020223 - p8 - crop
ECO HEARTBEAT: A beautiful, still-functioning floodplain wetland system in the southern Drakensberg near Nqanqarhu (formerly Maclear) creates wonderful oxbow shapes when seen from the air. Meandering channels in the floodplain wetlands are continuously moving due to cutting and depositing of sediment. They support a busy ecosystem.

Thicket Festival 2022

The first-ever Thicket Festival took place in Bathurst during the Heritage weekend (September 24–25) of 2022. The festival sought to celebrate the local indigenous Subtropical Thicket vegetation and to share just how unique and special it is. The festival was jointly organised by the Friends of Waters Meeting and the Rhodes Restoration Research Group.
Thicket Festival Venue
Thicket Festival Talks
At the heart of the festival was a series of informative talks on Saturday, focussed on what thicket is and why it is special: Prof Alastair Potts, a plant ecologist at the Nelson Mandela Botany Department, introduced thicket by discussing different types of this ancient and very unique vegetation. Nicholaus Huchzermeyer, of the Rhodes Restoration Research Group, warned that thicket is disappearing, with large areas becoming degraded, despite legislation that protects virgin land from being cleared without a permit. Michael Braack, of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, discussed the Role of government's Natural Resources Management programme in supporting research to find solutions to thicket clearing and restoration. Serena Gess from Bathurst discussed how people have experienced the thicket, focussing especially on the 1820 British settlers. The talks were concluded with a discussion on the wide variety of birds in the thicket by Dr Ben Smit from Rhodes University.

The festive mood was highlighted by a large group of people participating in the lantern parade through Bathurst on Saturday evening; beautiful lanterns made by the inhabitants lighted the main street displaying animals and plants of the thicket. Sunday's guided walk through the thicket on Bathurst Commonage with Monty Roodt, emeritus professor of Sociology at Rhodes University, was informative and fun. The festival was concluded by activities at the regular Sunday farmers' market: Elizabeth Milne shared information on the medicinal value of many of the thicket plants for the home pharmacy, while Sandy Richter of the local nursery displayed and discussed thicket plants for the garden.

Read more about the thicket festival in Grocott's Mail: Celebrating life in the thick of it

Thicket Festival Lantern Parade 4