Care Programme

There is a growing community who practice inclusive conservation

The Table Mountain Fund is committed to growing and strengthening the conservation community of the Cape Floral Kingdom by facilitating the inclusion and involvement of new entrants into conservation. This includes, where needed, the creation and development of new community-based conservation organisations, the growth and support of existing conservation organisations, as well as supporting existing non-conservation focused organisations to become more environmentally conscious. The Care Programme is also about empowering the community to network and collaborate, to hold government accountable and to take on a shared responsibility to care for our natural environment.

The Fund best delivers on this programme through supporting small and micro grant facilities which offer financial aid in support of conservation projects being implemented by fledging community-based organisations. At times these micro grants represent the first financial support these organisations have ever received and allows them a well facilitated and mentored induction experience.

This programme aims to ensure that:

  • Already established organisations are more conservation-minded and implement new conservation projects
  • The conservation community grows through the start-up and growth of new conservation organisations
  • The conservation community has increased capacity, capability, collaboration and networking
  • Empowered communities perform necessary advocacy functions to ensure delivery and compliance regarding policies, legislation and plans.
The Table Mountain Fund aims to contribute R4.5 million towards the Care Programme, ensuring that by facilitating the inclusion and involvement of new entrants into conservation, the Cape Floral Kingdom conservation community continues to grow and strengthen.

Care Projects:

© Giselle Murison

Coordination of the Cape Floristic Region Partnership

BirdLife South Africa 

1 June 2023 – 31 July 2026

The newly reimagined Cape Floristic Region (CFR) Partnership will support collaboration, advocacy, learning, and communication amongst a diverse group of stakeholders and role players. The goal is to successfully and sustainably conserve the unique biodiversity of the CFR, building on the legacy of the Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE). Table Mountain Fund’s Care Programme is supporting BirdLife South Africa and Conservation Outcomes in a coordinating role, to convene, champion and administrate this new collective, which will provide a platform for voluntary engagement and exchange that will foster broader collaborations across the region at multiple scales. Launched in June 2023, the project will initially concentrate on reinvigorating the Partnership’s conservation base, drawing from existing strategies and plans, and the needs of partners in the landscape to better align, and explore, new avenues for conservation and sustainable use within the CFR.

© Felicity Strange - Friends of Verlorenvlei

Protecting the Verlorenvlei G30 catchment

Biodiversity Law Centre

1 October 2023 – 30 November 2026

The Verlorenvlei is a RAMSAR wetland of international importance as well as an important bird and biodiversity area. According to the provincial Protected Area Expansion Strategy, it has been identified as one of twelve estuaries in the Western Cape highlighted for formal protection. Yet only a portion of the G30 Verlorenvlei catchment is protected in the Moutonshoek Protected Environment (PE). The remainder includes highly threatened ecosystems such as Swartland Shale Renosterveld, Leipoldtville Sand Fynbos, Piketberg Sand Fynbos, Piketberg Quartz Succulent Shrubland and Cape Lowland Freshwater wetlands, which are largely unprotected. The vlei and catchment are severely threatened by over-abstraction of ground and surface water, including through the construction of unlawful dams and cultivation within the estuarine functional zone as well as mining applications within the protected environment. Through this project, the Biodiversity Law Centre is working with partners and community activists to address these threats using legal interventions.

©Leonad Flemming

Bringing back the Witvis

Freshwater Research Centre

1 January 2024 – 28 February 2028

As a result of habitat degradation and predation by the non-native smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, the Berg-Breede Witvis (Pseudobarpus andrewi) was declared extinct in the Berg River in the 1990s. Through the Western Cape Government Berg River Improvement Plan, the system has experienced improvements in both water quality and quantity. It is now believed that the Witvis can be successfully reintroduced to the system – mostly as a result of the reduction in the number of smallmouth bass, who have in-turn, been predated on by a second introduced yet non-invasive species, the African sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus) that is believed to be capable of co-existence. Through this project, Babylonstoren will be partnering with the Freshwater Research Centre (FRC) to create Witvis populations in nursery dams on the farm and reintroduce the fish from these dams back into the Berg River (between Franschhoek and Paarl) in order to re-establish this flagship fish species. Babylonstoren staff will be trained and equipped to carry out basic monitoring to ensure project sustainability beyond the project timeframe. There is also a strong emphasis on informing and including the local community of farmers, schools and general public through a multi-pronged awareness campaign.

© Nature Connect

Small Grants Facility as a mechanism to advance conservation in the Cape Floristic Region

Nature Connect

1 October 2023 – 30 November 2026

This project aims to support the inclusion of new entrants to the conservation community. The small grant facility will be a stepping stone for the development of start-ups and community projects in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). The facility will capacitate NGOs and CBOs in their efforts to drive environmental improvement projects linked to conservation and water-resource management within the CFR. Nature Connect has previously run a successful TMF-funded small grant facility and this project is therefore building on the success of their previous project.

© Wild Restoration NPC

Action Network for Volunteer and Local Invasive Clearing Groups

Wild Restoration NPC

1 November 2023 – 31 December 2024.

The overall objective of this project is to prototype an action-learning network for local volunteer groups and community organisations involved in invasive alien clearing within the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). It aims to energise existing groups, start-up new groups, share information and knowledge, improve clearing practises and build common approaches to data capturing and monitoring.  

© Whale Coast Conservation

Paddavlei Conservation Project

Whale Coast Conservation

1 November 2023 – 31 December 2026

This project aims to capacitate the Paddavlei Eco Group (PEG) to participate effectively and efficiently in the management of the local environment in order to protect, restore and enhance the natural heritage of Hawston and to halt further loss and damage to these ecosystems through rampant alien invasive plant growth, water pollution, dumping and littering. By engaging the Hawston youth in PEG’s activities, the aim is to establish a healthy culture of respect, appreciation and stewardship for Hawston’s natural assets. The project will be in partnership with the Overberg Municipality, CapeNature and the Whale Coast Conservation and all activities are aligned to the 2020 Paddavlei Maintenance Management Plan (MMP) which was produced by the Overstrand Municipality, approved by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and requires strong community-support for implementation.

© C. Guerbois

The Dunes and their People: Reconciling Conservation and Wellbeing in Coastal Communities

Nelson Mandela University

1 January 2024 – 28 February 2027

The main aim of this project is to reconcile conservation and community wellbeing in an ecologically-sensitive environment, the Groenvlei-Swartvlei mouth dunes, identified as one of Knysna’s natural wonders. This collaboration between the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) of Nelson Mandela University (NMU), the Smutsville Informal Settlement Forum (SISF) and the Knysna Municipality (KM) hopes to weave different forms of knowledge and ways of knowing to leverage inclusive conservation in the sensitive coastal dunes surrounding the Smutsville informal and formal settlements in Sedgefield.