Grootbos Green Futures Foundation
P O Box 148
Ansprechpartner: Lily Upton
From the beginning, the owners of Grootbos have been committed to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity as well as the upliftment of local communities. The non-profit Grootbos Foundation was established during 2004 to run the Grootbos environmental and social development programme and has as its mission:
The conservation of biodiversity of Grootbos and its surrounds and development of sustainable nature based livelihoods through ecotourism, research, management and education.
Funds generated by the Grootbos ecotourism business, together with donations received from guests and other donors are invested through the foundation into implementing key conservation and development projects. In this way all Grootbos guests are directly supporting biodiversity conservation and social upliftment in the Walker Bay region.
The Green Futures Horticulture and Life Skills College provides an annual training programme on Grootbos to 12 unemployed youths from the Gansbaai area in horticulture, indigenous gardening and life skills development. The course has been running since 2003 and all graduates have found employment on completion of the course. This is testament to the success of this unique training model developed by Grootbos personnel.
The horticultural component of the course includes plant identification, an appreciation of fynbos and its ecology, why and how it can be preserved, how to use it in indigenous gardening, fynbos propagation and nursery skills, garden design, as well as garden establishment and maintenance using waterwise techniques. All theory is backed up by a range of practical work in developing and maintaining gardens on Grootbos and for private clients. The sale of plants and provision of landscaping services by the students provides income to the college. In this way, through their labour, students help to pay for their own tuition.
The life skills component of the course includes a first aid course, numeracy skills, literacy skills, health issues, an AIDS awareness programme, interpersonal skills, money management, basic computer skills, basic business skills as well as completing a driver’s license. The life skills component of the course has proven vital in assisting graduates to successfully find employment. In addition to the education curriculum, the college provides transport, breakfast and lunch, uniforms, equipment and a basic wage to students.
Every year, three of the best students are given the opportunity to visit and work at the Eden Project (www.edenproject.com) in Cornwall, U.K. This is an amazing opportunity that opens their eyes to our dependence on plants and the natural world. The rest of the students are also provided with fascinating experiential training opportunities at Kirstenbosch and Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens.
On completion of their course, the students are awarded a nationally accredited certificate in horticulture and are assisted in work placement.
• Indigenous landscaping: We see our landscaping projects as opportunities to train our students, develop ecologically appropriate fynbos gardens and at the same time inform and encourage South Africans to take pride and interest in their natural heritage.
• Our speciality: Green futures specialises in indigenous water-wise gardening for winter-rainfall regions. We develop water-wise gardens that are lush and colourful throughout the year and use minimal water.
• Our nursery: We have developed a select range of indigenous trees, shrubs, bulbs and groundcovers for water wise fynbos gardens. We provide information on the best sites for each species, their preferred growth mediums and how to care for them once planted.
The Grootbos Foundation is currently involved in the following projects:
• Green Futures: Horticultural and Life Skills College (focus on training 12 unemployed youths from the Gansbaai area). The life skills component of the course includes a first aid course, numeracy skills, literacy skills, health issues, an AIDS awareness programme, interpersonal skills, money management, basic computer skills, basic business skills
• Growing the Future: Food Production and Life Skills Training (focus on training 8 women in growing of vegetables and fruit, beekeeping and the principles of successful animal husbandry)
• Gansbaai sport and youth development programme (focus on unifying diverse communities through sport in the Gansbaai region)
• Future trees (focus on rehabilitating a portion of milkwood forest decimated by 2006 wild fire)
For other net participants we can offer an expert guidance through trained staff, give an expert opinion, procure expert information and establish new contacts in the field of our work.