. .it now takes a lot longer to walk anywhere
I am thoroughly enjoying Bushveld-Mosaic. It has opened my eyes to the detail, connections, interactions, and the depth of nature. Last year, grass was a nondescript mass of cattle feed… now it’s a captivating taxonomic family with 10,035 species and an astonishing variety of inflorescence. I can no longer look at grass without considering its grazing value! Leaves used to be green and good for shade – now they are obovate, acute or apiculate, margins serrate or even crenate, stipules axilliary or paired and free! I have discovered a whole new invisible world . . . . . .it just takes a lot longer to walk anywhere.
How many people know about this jewel ?
I started the course to get a better insight, and learn more about the interactions of different aspects of the bush. Was I in for a surprise!!! The course content is certainly sufficient to spark a desire to learn more about things we take for granted, like grasses.
Who would have thought I would be randomly stopping on the side of the road to collect grass samples for later analysis…
My first thought when I drove into Kgaswane for our initial weekend, and looked over the valley between the mountains was, “I wonder how many people know about this jewel?”
You learn something new all the time, and to have world-class lecturers like Ulrich Oberprieler, Mary Scholes and Leslie Brown is a privilege in itself. I just wish I had done this course fifteen years ago, because I have that much knowledge to try and catch up on!
An awesome group of students..
My wife and I (and the grandchildren) would have enjoyed our visits to the different parks so much more had I done Bushveld Mosaic 20 years ago. The knowledge gained would have stood me in good stead, and I could have been worth so much more to my grandchildren who are as mad about nature and game conservation as their grandfather!
And last but not least, I have the privilege (and pleasure) of being part of the most awesome group of students that I have met in my life. The camaraderie amongst us is something to behold and treasure, and the best part of the weekend is the get-together after the test and on the Saturday evening! Dan kuier ons ‘n hond uit ‘n bos uit!!!
We are both thoroughly enjoying it
It started off when I more or less stumbled onto the Bushveld Mosaic course flyer at Pilanesberg about a year ago, but too late to start last year. I mentioned to Ingrid (my better half) that this seemed like something I might enjoy, but she did not seem too interested at the time. Eventually it came time to sign up and commit – at which point Ingrid said she would come along to keep me company.
Now, barely 3 months into the course we are both thoroughly enjoying it, and I actually need a crowbar to prise Ingrid out as she has got so engrossed in it. To make matters worse, my male chauvinist ego is taking a bit of a pounding as she whacks me in all the tests. I think the course material has been extremely well thought out and planned, with top notch lecturers. Certainly opens possibilities to go back at any stage on any of the topics covered, and explore them a lot more now that the foundations have been well laid. Great stuff . . . . .
A year from now you will wish you had started today!
I find it quite amusing to think back on my decision making process to commit to Bushveld- Mosaic studies this year. Juggling work life, family life, sport and studies was a very intimidating prospect and it took me a while to justify why I would want to put myself through this. After looking at it from all angles I was reminded of Karen Lamb’s quote, “A year from now you will wish you had started today”. It made me take the plunge without looking back. Bushveld Mosaic has been, and is so much more than I expected.
The 2014 group gets along famously, and we have a lot of fun whilst gaining knowledge and experience. The lecturers and co-ordinators have been doing an excellent job – each lecturer has their own effective style which has helped us digest the knowledge. I have particularly enjoyed the finely honed sense of humour of the lecturers – not to mention my fellow students. It has also been great to meet and chat with the HO’s participating as co-ordinators as well as the ones doing duty in the reserves. I can’t wait to be back in nature for the next module!
New found knowledge can be scary
I started the Bushveld-Mosaic programme this year and my only regret is that I didn’t do it years ago! Each weekend in the bush is spent with subject matter experts who make scary topics like grasses exciting (not to mention flowers and trees). Every minute you are learning something new, and as you progress you start to understand the bigger picture a bit better.
Although I don’t have any preconceived goal in mind – I do however know that I will be far wiser. Hopefully I will find a way to use my new found knowledge to give something back, so that others too can learn, and in turn pass on their knowledge. For now though, all I amlooking forward to is the next weekend in the bush and another brand new topic.
Who knew that starting to study again after a break of 50 plus years is a lot harder than climbing Kilimanjaro backwards. (Not that I have ever done that, but I imagine).
Who knew that some of those little shrubs you see growing in the bush are actually South Africa’s fabled Underground Trees.
Who knew that Wetlands are so important to us …… even though they don’t have trees.
Who knew how much fun it would be, walking in a stream and finding little squiggly things you have never seen before.
Who knew that after just a few “get togethers” around a braai you can have a whole group of really fun new friends.
I am really looking forward to all the “Who Knew’s” still to come on Bushveld Mosaic this year
And what do we Know?
I think what has struck me most is how well such a diverse group has come together through the love of a common interest. The age group ranges from low thirties to early seventies, male and female, and by and large, no one knew anyone else. There are introverts like me (Administrator’s comment: big question mark) and extroverts. Yet by the second weekend the interaction was as if we had known one another for years.
Another thing has been the high standard of expert lecturers, providing us with a tremendous amount of knowledge in an incredibly short space of time with the maximum amount of fun.
“Bushveld Mosaic enriched me in a way I never thought possible…what a gloriously exciting and wonderful year.
We made friends with like-minded people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, interacting, exchanging ideas and learning from one another.
We spent many evenings watching the fire, chatting quietly (sometimes not that quietly) and listening to wild animals calling to one another.
We were up at the crack of dawn to have coffee and rusks, to wake up to attend interesting and enlightening lectures by professionals – lecturers all passionate and involved in their various fields.
We learnt so much about nature and our world, the stars, solar systems, rocks, mammals, reptiles, arachnids, trees, grasses, the environment, history, archaeology… so many more interesting things.
I came back from each module wanting to know more – reading and researching avidly.
Too soon the year came to an end! We had so much fun, we learnt so much, and I really believe that we all grew in so many different ways. It has inspired and motivated me in so many ways.”
When I started
“When I started the course, I thought I knew at least a bit about nature. After the first lecture, I realised that this is going to be a journey never to forget.
We all had such a great time whilst learning and friendships amongst strangers was established. One of the many most memorable moments is the wilderness weekend. Sleeping under the stars, taking turns to keep guard and cooking up a storm from the most basic ingredients.
Looking back, the knowledge I gained from the educated course organisers and well known authors (such as Prof Eric Holm) is more vast than what I imagined would be possible in the beginning. I surely obtained my licence to learn more. “Knowledge is a door that would only open if you turn the key yourself”.
I’m now an Honorary Officer
“I enjoyed the course very much and it became something to look forward to each month where we would learn another module.
The quality of the lecturers was first class and it was a privilege to be able to learn from experts in their fields. It did not matter how much you knew or thought you knew about a subject, as you were soon exposed to stuff that you had no idea about.
The fellow students I met on the course have become friends as we shared something very special and worked together to reach a common goal. I’m now an Honorary Officer and proud to be able to assist North West Parks &Tourism Board in my small way. Bushveld Mosaic provided me with the opportunity to enjoy my time in the bush to a much higher degree.”
A stepping stone to a career
“From my perspective of gaining a broad based platform of information – both theoretical and practical – with respect to all aspects of our wildlife/floral and anthropological background of South Africa, is that it totally satisfied my expectations and provided me with the stimulus to go on looking and learning while out in the bush.
The actual course made study and learning an ongoing rewarding experience that was never a grind but always an enjoyable effort.
The social aspect of the weekends was great and stimulating meeting people of all backgrounds and ages.
I have often thought of doing it again because it was so much fun.
A great course for those to use as a stepping stone to a career in this field and to those enthusiastic amateurs like myself.”