Hilton College shows its wild side

2011-07-26 00:00

THE Hilton College Nature Reserve has gained official recognition as a nature reserve.

The Teapots Valley and Gwen’s Gorge areas of the Hilton College Estate have been officially declared a nature reserve in terms of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) biodiversity stewardship programme.

A small launch ceremony was held on Friday attended by the EKZNW stewardship unit, representatives of the school and the Hiltonian Society and neighbours of the estate.

The nature reserve, comprising about 500 ha, is part of the provincial biodiversity stewardship programme spearheaded by EKZNW.

The reserve was formally gazetted in February and will remain a conservation area in perpetuity.

The stewardship programme is an attempt to get more land under conservation and to form a partnership with private owners.

The headmaster of Hilton College, Gavin Thomson, said, “I am extremely excited as this forms part of our academic programme. The fact of having a nature reserve sets us apart from other schools to have such a facility as this.”

John Roff of environmental education at Hilton said the launch of the reserve is “a great initiative as the nature reserve will be used to make learning practical for a wide range of different school subjects … It is also a great example for landowners, as such a positive contribution to conservation can prove what can be achieved.”

Steve McKean, manager of the stewardship project, regards the area as a prime site for conservation.

The reserve is the result of two years of planning and co-operation between the landowner, the Hiltonian Society and EKZNW.

McKean said the nature reserve will make a significant contribution towards increasing the biodiversity targets and conserved land for KwaZulu-Natal. Hiltonians past and present can be assured that their beloved estate will remain conserved and well-managed for the future, he added.

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