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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South Africa

Elephant rumbles

When I was a child growing up in Kwa-Zulu Natal, elephants had not yet been introduced into our provincial parks, and so apart from sighting elephants on two brief trips to Kruger National Park, it was only in the early 1990s on slightly more extended trips to Botswana that we spent more time observing elephants – usually from our vehicle but sometimes too as they walked by, or even into, our camping site.

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Just saying hi!

This week things have got a bit hectic so I am just saying hi and postponing the post on elephant communication until next week.

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The secretarybird and the rising sun

A secretarybird with wings outspread and crowned by a stylised rising sun, tops the South African national Coat of Arms. The light, energy and splendour of the sun signifying the rebirth of every day at sunrise, and the soaring flight and power of the secretarybird are intended to inspire confidence and evoke potency.

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Wordless in the aftermath: KwaZulu-Natal July 2021

This week in the aftermath of the widespread looting and destruction across much of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng I have few words. Although a semblance of calm might seem to prevail and road delivery routes are opening up, suffering and bereavement, sadness and pain, loss and fear, anger and resentment remain.

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What may emerge from the ashes of destruction?

We have a crisis in our land. Reports of an orchestrated insurrection seem increasingly credible.  The political campaign ignited an explosion of destruction, and according to many analysts, it exploited and was partly fuelled by the misery and hopelessness of dire poverty and high unemployment levels that afflict a high percentage of people in our country (with youth unemployment being over 50%).

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Journeying from freshwater pans to garden pond

One of the most beautiful fresh water pans in the northern Zululand region (Maputoland) of KwaZulu-Natal is the Inyamiti Pan in Ndumo Game Reserve.  The pan is fringed by fever trees with their pale yellow bark reflecting in the water, especially in summer when the water level is high.

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Going with the flow: Some southern African rivers and wetlands

The freshwater biome can be categorized into lakes, streams and wetlands, and all are interconnected. We depend utterly on freshwater systems that globally comprise only 0.8% of all the water on the planet and cover only 1/5 of the Earth’s surface.

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A diminutive and dynamic presence: The African firefinch

I hear the tinkling call of visiting African firefinches more often than I see them. They forage on the ground and in low vegetation, venturing out into open ground when undisturbed.

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Ouhout: An adaptable and tenacious survivor

The holiday association of shrubby Ouhout trees lining mountain streams and hiking trails meant that we were delighted to find an established Ouhout growing in the garden when we moved into our current home some years ago. The Afrikaans name, used also by English speakers, ‘Ouhout’ literally means ‘old wood’, and even young plants have a woody gnarled appearance.

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