The opening of the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS), hosted over two events, was certainly memorable. The event hosted on the 27th February 2015, was for all the local tourism partners and friends and a celebration of all the local support received.
The mood was set by the Gansbaai Academia marimba band as guests arrived. The school’s hospitality students were also involved with the serving of refreshments and their expertise ensured a smooth flow of service to all guests at this event. The two main speakers at the event were Mr. Pierre de Villiers, Program Manager: Estuaries, MPA’s and Island from CapeNature, and Ms. Liesel Bezuidenhout, Environmental Manager for the Overstrand Municipality. Cape Nature is one of the DICT’s conservation partners, alongside the Overstrand Municipality.
Wilfred shared more on his dream which was initially a few containers stacked together and then with the assistance of Trudi Malan, an old friend of Wilfred and the DICT, and the donation of plans from Mike Morrison Architects from the Eastern Cape became the world class facility that is now the pride of Gansbaai and the Overstrand.
Many organisations helped in the building of this facility: Youngman Roofing together with Romansbaai Eco Estate sponsored the steel roofing; GSA - Glass South Africa sponsored the glass, especially the one way custom designed auditorium windows; JoJo Tanks donated tanks for the rainwater harvesting system.
Our local support for APSS has been invaluable, Grootbos sponsored the garden horticulture and Gansbaai Marine has made a substantial financial contribution as well as sponsored two freezers. They will also assist us with a reliable fish source throughout the year to ensure our feathered friends are well fed. Mr Stephen Walker was instrumental in his support of time and money and special thanks must go to him. Pierre Franken from Franken Bouers, and Eward Grobbelaar from Cegela needs a special mention for their contribution to the facility.
Getting a vote of confidence from Birdlife Overberg, through a generous donation, motivates and drives us to accomplish achievements such as APSS - their support has been ongoing for years. Since the inception of APSS, Anton and Elaine Odendal have been keeping their club informed on the progress of the project, as well as urge their members to help by donating to this cause. One has to also commend the service provided by outstanding local businesses, Francois Kriel from Overberg Aluminum and Glass worked tirelessly to install all the glass sponsored by GSA - and fishing nets were lent to APSS.
Creation Wines kindly, in a time span of two weeks, launched a newly labelled red and white wine called “Penguin Sanctuary” and 30% of the sales from every bottle will be donated to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary. A wonderful surprise was received at the event on the 27th when Kim Maclean, Sharklady Adventures, handed Wilfred Chivell a cheque for R10,000. This will give Sharklady Adventures a Gull sponsorship plaque at the entrance of APSS in recognition of her sponsorship contribution.
This facility was not possible without the support of so many. If you wish to make a financial donation towards operational costs of the rehabilitation of our feathered friends we urge you to consider our tiered level of support. Our “1000 Bricks at a R1000 a Brick” fundraising drive is a great way to give someone a gift that gives on giving - A ‘brick’ can be sponsored supporting this building and its operations of rehabilitating birds, and your name or that of a loved one will be on the donor wall at the entrance.
Donating has been made easy with a paypal account available on our website at www.africanpenguin.org. You can help in other ways too - we need old towels and newspapers, which can be collected from you, or dropped off at APSS. We have had many keen people wanting to be volunteers - you can add your name to the list by mailing email@example.com.
Volunteers would not be required on a daily basis necessarily but definitely in a crisis situation. The facility is open to the public between 09h00 to 15h00. At the moment tours can be conducted through the facility, but once birds are in care this will no longer be possible. However, cameras have been installed over the rehabilitation area so the public can still see what is being done behind the scenes. There is also an information touch screen which is being continually developed. We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves - Every Bird Counts.
Alouise Lynch, Operations Manager: Dyer Island Conservation Trust