River conservation trust launches Howick branch

2008-01-22 00:00

“Be the change you wish to live” was the message from Bruce Haynes, a published word poet and conservation campaigner, at the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust’s (Duct) Howick branch launch this week.

Over 150 people attended the launch event held at the Goldfields Centre at the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve last Friday. Liz Taylor, chairman of the Howick branch said, “We were completely blown away by the number of people who attended, people of all ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds. This just shows the interest and commitment that the Howick community has for environmental issues.”

The evening started with cheese and wine being served, while the people at the meeting had a chance to look at photographs and displays of what different working groups have achieved, and hope to achieve, along the Umgeni River between the Midmar Dam wall and the Howick Falls. Guests at the launch were invited to commit themselves to specific areas and projects.

The chairman of Duct Pietermaritzburg, Dave Still, took time out from competing in the Dusi Canoe Marathon to attend the event and address the group. He was followed by Haynes, from Howick, presenting a “rap poem” called New Story.

The guest speaker, Dr Ian Player, was introduced to the audience by the CEO of Wessa (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), Mumsie Gumede. Player’s achievements include initiating the Wilderness Leadership School, starting the Dusi Canoe Marathon and helping to rescue the white rhino from extinction. Although Player is now 81 years old, he has lost none of the energy, spark and enthusiasm for his passion, the environment.

The fact that one can drink the water of the Umgeni River above Howick but once it flows through the town it is no longer drinkable reflects how serious the pollution problem is. To offer to help or further information about Duct: Howick, please contact Pam Haynes at dart@sai.co.za or at 033 330 5693.

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