Sunday, November 30, 2008

Visiting Environmentalists Study Local Plants

Twenty-four members of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS) visited Prince Albert for a few days in September as part of an organised excursion after their annual international conference in Stellenbosch. Prince Albert residents, Carol and Dorrien Tissiman, were their guides after a brief tuition from Sue Milton and Richard Dean, who were abroad at another conference!

The IAVS is an international union of scientists and academics working in theoretical or practical aspects of vegetation science. The visitors to Prince Albert came from all over the world, including USA, Germany, France, Austria, and Poland. They devoted their stay to four focus areas: the veld plains north of town, the old fossil river specialty, the Koppie, the lower Swartberg Pass and Meiringspoort.
The group was overwhelmed by Prince Albert hospitality, particularly the great food provided by the Luttig family and the Lazy Lizard.The rains a few weeks prior to the visit enabled them to view some of our wonderful Karoo plant delights, including the rare red plumbago tristes, abundant purple, pink and white drosanthemumsin abundance, sarcoaulon (bushman’s candle) and they treaded very carefully around the rare lithops and glottiphyllum.

Many of them expressed a wish to return to spend longer and also bring their students here.From the guides’ perspective, it was wonderful to celebrate our unique fauna and flora with visitors as they quietly wandered with noses to the ground or eyes through binoculars on birds, completely absorbed in the natural environment.

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