CELEBRATING A WORLD OF WILDLIFE IN THE CITY
Belinda Glenn, EWT Marketing and Communications Manager
Late last year, the EWT took the leap and made the move to our forever home in Midrand, in the heart of Giant Bullfrog country. It was only fitting that we would celebrate this exciting new chapter by launching our new home in the build up to Leap Day.
On 26 February 2020, close to 100 donors, partners, members of the media, and other important stakeholders joined us in celebrating the launch of the EWT Gauteng Conservation Campus. The glorious summer day was the perfect backdrop to showcase the six-hectare property, which features a protected wetland and is home to countless species of indigenous flora and fauna. Nestled in the heart of an urban wilderness, the EWT is building a permanent home for conservation on this campus. Yolan Friedmann, EWT CEO, opened the formalities by giving guests some insight into the work of the organisation, and the vision that prompted the journey to our new home in Midrand. While we have only just moved into our new home, and there are still many exciting developments in the pipeline, it was incredible to see how much has already been done to transform the property. Guests were also treated to a few words from Clive Walker, a conservation legend and one of the founders of the EWT, who described the early years of the organisation, and his pride in seeing how far the EWT has come since it began in 1973. Yvette Nowell, from Rand Merchant Bank, one of the key funders of the property, also shared some insight into why the vision of the EWT’s new home was so compelling.
The final formalities included Dirk Ackerman, Chairman of the EWT Board, taking on ribbon cutting duties to ceremonially declare the Gauteng Conservation Campus open, and the unveiling of a young baobab tree, which symbolises the connection between our home in Midrand, and the properties the EWT owns in the Soutpansberg, as well as the longevity of the EWT’s impact and the legacy of the Conservation Campus dream which will outlive us all. Guests were then able to discover the property at their leisure, and spend time at each specially set up EWT programme station, where the work of our field staff was showcased. Liquid refreshments courtesy of Painted Wolf Wines, Rare Gin, and Outliers Coffee were most welcome in the afternoon sunshine, as the guests lingered to enjoy the special atmosphere of this wonderful environment.
The Gauteng Conservation Campus is funded by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust and Rand Merchant Bank. Several other partners have contributed significantly to making this dream a reality, including Standard Bank, SpeedSpace, Wiggett Architects, Tiletoria, Ryobi, Duram Paints and The Meter Man.