June 2013 is the Centenary of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc). BotSoc has been and continues to be a strategic partner of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
BotSoc, through the support and involvement of its members and leadership over the past 100 years, has ensured SANBI’s on-going commitment and contribution made towards plant conservation, research and education, as well as maintaining and expanding the network of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens.
Since 1913 the Botanical Society and its members have been there to serve as volunteers, raise funds for development projects, and promote awareness of South Africa’s botanical heritage and conservation needs. The relationship between SANBI and BotSoc is unique in South Africa, and the longest standing partnership between parastatal organisation and an environmental NGO in South Africa’s history.
During these 100 years the platform has been laid for collaboration and mutual support of both organisations which can only continue to grow, expand and develop as SANBI and BotSoc continue to serve the South African public and local communities.
Some of the highlights of the Centenary celebrations have been participating in the successful Biodiversity Day held on 22 May, as well as collaborating with SANBI in the publication of a Centenary calendar by Alice Notten, and a commemorative book Kirstenbosch the most beautiful garden in Africa by Brian Huntley.
Other highlights for the remainder of the year will be the hosting of a fundraising gala on 26 September, and the publication of a coffee table book celebrating ten years of championing the cause of endangered wildflowers through the Custodians of rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) programme, which will be launched at the dinner.
The Botanical Society will also be hosting a Biodiversity Art Exhibition for Cape Town schools on International Youth Day as part of its collaboration with Ibhabhathane project. The project aims to educate scholars and instil in them an awareness of social ecosystems and the importance of conserving our biodiversity.
Building on the long and mutually beneficial relationship that has so far endured for 100 years, the outlook for BotSoc and SNABI into the next few decades is very positive, with joint commitment at the highest level in both organisations to promoting collaboration, growing and diversifying membership of BotSoc, expanding the network and support for South Africa’s national botanical gardens, improving he conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, animals and ecological interactions.
BotSoc will continue to be there to support SANBI in realizing its mission- to champion the exploration, conservation, sustainable use, appreciation and enjoyment of South Africa’s rich biodiversity. Whilst the details may have changed over the past 100 years, the essence of the visionary public/private partnership established in 1913 between SANBI and BotSoc has remained consistent and relevant.
For more information go to www.botanicalsociety.org.za