Ford Wildlife Foundation increase their support

We are hugely grateful to the Ford Wildlife Foundation, who are enabling us to advance our coastal education initiatives for schools and youth by supplying two brand new Ford Rangers for our work in Port Elizabeth and East London. By providing these vehicles, the Ford Wildlife Foundation is improving the effectiveness of our environmental education work by enabling ease of access to project sites – especially in rural areas – as well as helping us to deliver functional project support.

We value our ongoing relationship with the Foundation, which has supported conservation and environmental education programmes over the past 26 years. Through their support we have been able to strengthen the impact of our coastal educational work aimed at the preservation of our rich and irreplaceable heritage as people caring for the earth.

WESSA celebrates ‘People Caring for the Earth’ with 2017 Annual Awards

WESSA has paid tribute to a wide range of outstanding environmental achievements with the presentation of the organisation’s 2017 Annual Awards. The Awards were presented at the organisation’s 91st AGM, hosted by WESSA’s KwaZulu-Natal Regional Membership at the Protea Hotel Durban Edward on Saturday.

The WESSA Awards, which have been presented since 1974, enable WESSA to recognise and honour those who have made a significant contribution to the environmental conservation or environmental education sector in South Africa, in a sustainable manner.

In keeping with the organisation’s ongoing investment in developing an empowered and enthused youth sector, a new Youth Category was included in the 2017 WESSA Awards and the initial recipient was Ayanda Lipheyane from Pietermaritzburg. The WESSA Gold Medal was awarded to Dr Graham Avery from Cape Town, while the 2017 Group Award was presented to Friends of the Liesbeek in Cape Town. Individual Awards for 2017 were awarded to Jacques Tredoux from Kimberley and Sandy Camminga (in absentia) from Richards Bay. The three winners of the 2017 WESSA Corporate Award were Ford Wildlife Foundation, Eskom and Bridgestone South Africa.

The WESSA AGM was held in parallel with Sharing and Caring for Water 2017, which is an important international water conference that was co-hosted this year by WESSA, the Global Participatory Water Management Network (GPWMN – an international water management network supported by the United Nations and UNESCO) and eThekwini Municipality. The programme for the WESSA AGM was structured around the conference theme and guest speakers included Emeritus Prof. Rob O’Donoghue, former CEO of iSimagaliso Andrew Zaloumis, Jean Senogles from WESSA Highway Branch and Westville Conservancy, Crispin Hemson from Friends of Pigeon Valley and Ayanda Lipheyane from water engineering company GroundTruth.





Ayanda Lipheyane

In recognition of his actions as a key initiator responsible for the upscaling of community-based resource monitoring through the Enviro-Champs movement. Ayanda’s actions in strengthening citizen-based water, waste and sanitation management are now being adopted across South Africa. WESSA acknowledges him as an enthusiastic and thoughtful young leader. He is an inspiration to all of us in ‘Caring for the Earth’.



Graham Avery
For his extensive and ongoing contribution to WESSA for over 30 years, and for promoting ‘People caring for the Earth’ through environmental and conservation science.



Friends of the Liesbeek
Received by Phil McLean (Chair of Friends of Liesbeek), Mncekeleli Klaas (Supervisor) and Conor Estment (Project Manager)

In recognition of their progressive, community-managed local stream rehabilitation initiative, resulting in the conservation of the ecological corridor of the Liesbeek river while also creating employment for the rehabilitation of the riverine ecosystem. WESSA acknowledges their dedication to promoting public participation in being ‘People Caring for the Earth.’ They have effectively included the river community, residents and relevant stakeholders. This innovative and unifying work is an example to be up-scaled to other parts of South Africa.



Jacques Tredoux

In recognition of his progressive and sustained environmental action through his career in teaching and as headmaster at St. Patrick’s CBC, Kimberley in the Northern Cape. WESSA salutes his dedicated support for environmental education and the Eco-Schools programme. We commend him for creating awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities. We acknowledge his Water Saving Project and his perseverance in ‘Caring for the Earth’.

Sandy Camminga
Presented in absentia

In recognition of her tenacity and committed environmental lobbying as the founder of the Richards Bay Clean Air Association. WESSA acknowledges her sustained track-record of promoting and securing environmental well-being. We salute her enthusiasm and community-engaged contribution to ‘Caring for the Earth’.



Ford Wildlife Foundation
Received by Neale Hill – Director: Marketing, Sales & Service

Presented with gratitude and in recognition of their continued support of conservation and environmental education programmes over the past 26 years. WESSA acknowledges their pioneering approach including the recent establishment of the Ford Wildlife Foundation. Through this work, they are helping ensure the protection and preservation of our rich and irreplaceable heritage. We salute Ford in the knowledge that they will continue in their dedication to ‘Caring for the Earth.’

Received by Mrs Kerseri Pather – General Manager: Sustainability Systems (Eskom Risk and Sustainability Division) and Warren Funston – Manager: Biodiversity and Waste Centre of Excellence (Eskom Sustainability Division)

Presented in recognition of Eskom’s Biodiversity Centre of Excellence, a cutting-edge facility for integrating biodiversity considerations with legislative compliance. WESSA gratefully acknowledges the sustained support Eskom provided to the WESSA Energy and Sustainability project for over 25 years. WESSA further acknowledges their commitment and responsibility to manage and mitigate the impact of Eskom’s activities on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Bridgestone South Africa
Received by Kelly Fester – Public Relations Officer at Bridgestone South Africa

In recognition of their ‘Wildlife and Roads Project’ (WRP), which, in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), is reducing wildlife deaths on South African roads. Through this work, Bridgestone is promoting a greater understanding of the impact of road infrastructure on wildlife. Bridgestone and EWT are especially acknowledged for this unique and effective approach to people ‘Caring for the Earth’.




All the award winners
Back row L – R: Neale Hill (Ford Wildlife Foundation), Conor Estment (Friends of the Liesbeek), Warren Funston (Eskom), Kelly Fester (Bridgestone South Africa), Prof Michael Kidd (WESSA Chairman)

Front row L – R: Ayanda Lipheyane, Mncekeleli Klaas and Phil McLean (Friends of the Liesbeek), Jacques Tredoux, Kerseri Pather (Eskom), Dr Graham Avery, Dr Thommie Burger (WESSA CEO)

Ayanda Lipheyane
Ayanda Lipheyane (centre) with WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd (left) and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger (right)

Graham Avery
Dr Graham Avery (centre) with WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd (left) and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger (right)

Friends of the Liesbeek
From L – R: WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd; Phil McLean, Mncekeleli Klaas, Conor Estment (Friends of the Liesbeek); and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger

Jacques Tredoux
Jacques Tredoux (centre) with WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd (left) and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger (right)

Sandy Camminga
Sandy Camminga from the Richards Bay Clean Air Association

Ford Wildlife Foundation
Neale Hill from Ford Wildlife Foundation (centre) with WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd (left) and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger (right)

Kerseri Pather (second from left) and Warren Funston (second from right) from Eskom with WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd (left) and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger (right)

Bridgestone South Africa
Kelly Fester from Bridgestone South Africa (centre) with WESSA Chairman Prof Michael Kidd (left) and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger (right)



All award recipients are available for interviews on request.

#2017WESSAAwards #WessaAGM #PeopleCaringForTheEarth

About WESSA:
WESSA implements effective environmental, ecotourism, education and youth development programmes throughout South Africa. We improve the school curriculum through education for sustainable development and provide critical work skills training, which creates job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods in local communities. Our environmental initiatives contribute towards the restoration of ecosystems, while our ecolabels support tourism growth and development by encouraging responsible tourism practices and the improved management of our coastline.

Blue Flag strengthens its commitment to sustainable tourism through exciting new partnership

We are excited to announce that the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the international custodian of the Blue Flag eco-label, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), the world’s largest partnership working to protect the cetacean group of marine mammals which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

This partnership will see the two organisations work hand-in-hand towards sustainability within the cetacean-watching industry and recognises Blue Flag and WCA’s existing work and expertise in their respective fields.

Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label that focuses on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to provide environmental education, raise awareness and promote sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach managers. It has become an international symbol of quality for beaches, boats and marinas that meet high standards of excellence in a number of criteria.

With the ongoing growth of the marine tourism industry there is increasing pressure on popular whale and dolphin watching sites, which heightens the need to provide environmental education to marine tourists and for operators to implement sound practices to ensure that marine mammals are never at risk or stressed by the surrounding boats. Last year Blue Flag introduced new criteria for sustainable tourism boats to ensure that these goals are met. These new Blue Flag criteria complement the WCA’s recently launched Whale Heritage Site accreditation, which recognises the best global destinations for whale and dolphin watching.

As the South African implementer of the Blue Flag programme we welcome the new partnership with the WCA and see it as a further strengthening of the commitment to sustainable tourism by all of the partner organisations.

Applications from sustainable tourism boating operators, beaches and marinas for Blue Flag accreditation in the 2017/18 South African Blue Flag season are now open until Friday 28 April. Apply here

Learners get savvy about recycling vehicle oil

In September 2016 WESSA launched the Used Oil Project funded by the ROSE Foundation – a national non-profit organisation which promotes the environmentally responsible management of used vehicle oils and related waste in South Africa.

The three-year project aims to address the illegal and harmful dumping of used vehicle oil by educating learners about the importance of disposing of oil correctly, which should be done by taking it to accredited processing facilities located throughout the country.

Over the past few months the project – initially being rolled out in the Western Cape – has seen WESSA develop and distribute educational resource materials to 60 schools in the province covering the theme of used oil disposal. An informative workshop was held at Helderberg Nature Reserve to support learning about this important issue by introducing teachers to the educational resources and equipping them with lesson plans for grades 4 to 6 and 7 to 9.

Learning has been further incentivised at the participating schools through the introduction of a poster competition that focuses on responsible used oil disposal, with evaluation criteria linked to the curriculum.  Learners stand to win an educational trip to a local used oil recycling facility.

The ROSE Foundation has been an active supporter of WESSA for many years and has been a WESSA business member since 2013. In 2015 they received WESSA’s Corporate Award in recognition of their ongoing commitment to the environment through their promotion of the environmentally responsible management of used lubricating oils and related waste in South Africa, as well as for their commitment to environmental education at schools.

Schools and teachers interested in the programme can contact WESSA for details, including particulars of the poster competition. Email





Images and captions

ROSE_Foundation_WESSA_1: Learners from Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill with some of the resources which are helping them to learn about correct used oil disposal.

ROSE_Foundation_WESSA_2:  Lotus Secondary School (Lotus River) learners Bradey Lee Jaftha and Curtley Fortune with the schools’ Environmental Educator Mr Shafiek Isaacs



WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) is a leading implementer of high-impact environmental and conservation initiatives in southern Africa. We are a trusted and effective project partner with a proud, 90 year history of enabling individuals and organisations to use natural resources sustainably. The priority areas of our work include the international eco-labels of Eco-Schools, Blue Flag and Green Key; environmental education and skills development training; the conservation of life-supporting biodiversity and water resources; climate change mitigation and adaptation; and environmental governance.


About ROSE Foundation

The ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment), is a national non-profit organization established to promote and encourage the environmentally responsible management of used oils and related waste in South Africa. The unique collaboration initiated by the Foundation has seen cooperation between many of the key players in the industry to voluntarily form and finance an organisation to solve an important environmental problem. This approach has been an inspirational model for lubricant industries in many other countries.


WESSA introduces Green Key in South Africa

WESSA is excited to announce that it is introducing the international Green Key eco-label in South Africa and is inviting the local tourism industry to join them in piloting the programme in the Western Cape!

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operations within the tourism industry. The Green Key programme helps establishments reduce their environmental footprint without compromising on comfort or quality.

Awarded to more than 2,400 establishments in more than 50 countries around the world, the Green Keyaward has been in existence for longer than 20 years and is the largest global eco-label for accommodation. It is recognised and supported by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

This prestigious eco-label represents a commitment from tourism establishments to maintain high environmental standards, and an assurance to guests that their support of such an establishment helps to make a difference on an environmental and sustainability level. Green Key is able to help tourism establishments strive for sustainability in a structured way and receive accreditation for these efforts. Participation in the programme also contributes to reducing running costs for establishments through lower energy and water consumption, for example.

Green Key is a programme of the international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) based in Denmark. They have appointed WESSA to operate the programme in South Africa, recognising the organisation as a leading implementer of environmental and conservation initiatives for more than 90 years, and a trusted and effective NGO project partner, which has successfully implemented FEE’s Eco-Schools and Blue Flag eco-labels in the country for more than 15 years.

WESSA is looking to partner with five properties in the tourism industry to help them pilot Green Key in the Western Cape over the next four months, before launching the international eco-label throughout South Africa.

With the United Nations having declared 2017 as the year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, this is an ideal opportunity for tourism establishments to meet the increasing expectations of consumers that establishments should actively work towards achieving sustainability.

If you would like to participate in the piloting of Green Key and see how this eco-label can benefit your property please contact WESSA’s Ecotourism Unit Manager Vince Shacks on 082 337 1273 or email

For more information about the Green Key award download our e-brochure or visit

Tourism Blue Flag project set to enhance beach-goers experience this summer

This summer the newly launched Tourism Blue Flag project will see the deployment of 200 beach stewards at Blue Flag sites around the country, with the aim of improving the experience of both local visitors and domestic and international tourists at our beaches.

The Tourism Blue Flag project will benefit fifty beaches along the South African coastline by providing improved tourism facilities and services, while the beach stewards themselves will receive accredited training in environmental education with the ultimate goal of developing them for further employment in the coastal tourism sector.

This exciting new three year coastal tourism and youth development project is being implemented by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) in partnership with the National Department of Tourism.

The beach stewards are being hosted by local coastal municipalities and will be easily recognisable to beach-goers in their project-branded apparel. They have completed their induction training and are looking forward to interacting with visitors to our Blue Flag beaches over the coming months.

Activities you can expect to see them rolling out at participating Blue Flag beaches include fun and interactive environmental education activities for school-going children; monitoring of beach activities; conducting of visitor surveys as well as other data gathering; providing updates on weather and general beach-conditions via Twitter; assisting lifeguards by helping to improve water safety at the beach; and helping beach managers to maintain the high Blue Flag standards relating to safety, environmental management, water quality and environmental education at their beaches.

For a list of all the beaches where the Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards will be active along our coastline from November onwards visit