Get involved in conserving South Africa’s plant life
South Africa’s conservation community is a world leader in harnessing the power of citizen scientists to drive successful conservation initiatives and there are many ways that your BotSoc membership contributes to conserving South Africa’s flora. We always encourage our members to volunteer with us and with our partners. Here are just a few ways you can get involved.
Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers
Widely known as CREW for short, this programme is based at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and supported by the Botanical Society of South Africa. A nationwide network of citizen science volunteers monitor and collect data on rare and threatened wildflower species to assist
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conservation strategies and action.
The CREW programme has three nodes: the Cape floristic region, the summer rainfall region and the Eastern Cape. These nodes support CREW volunteer groups by offering resources, training courses, workshops and collaboration with local conservation agencies. SANBI Red List scientists use data collected by CREW groups to assess the conservation status of South African flora. These assessments are then used to determine policy and land use planning.
To find out where your local CREW group is and to get involved, contact your local branch.
Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP) is a UK-based plant conservation project operating in more than 50 countries and aiming to collect and conserve seeds from 25% of the world’s flora by 2020. SANBI has partnered with the MSBP for more than 15 years, collecting seed of indigenous plant species, especially those of conservation concern.
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The work of MSBP staff makes a very valuable contribution to plant conservation in South Africa. They are supported by trained volunteers, including BotSoc members, who help collect seeds as well as processing them for storage at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
To get involved, contact Victoria Wilman on firstname.lastname@example.org
Become a hike
Several BotSoc branches run regular hiking programmes enabling our members to explore our beautiful and highly biodiverse backyards while learning about our unique flora and environment. Hikes are led by experienced leaders and our programmes aim to cater for a variety of different levels, from easy botanical rambles to more strenuous mountain hikes. If you would like to get involved in organising and leading hikes, contact your local branch.
Are you a keen photographer with a passion for nature and biodiversity conservation? Do you often encounter plants, animals, birds, insects, reptiles and fungi in the field and are interested in getting an expert ID?
Sign up to iNaturalist, an innovative global site that encourages citizen scientists to contribute photographs of their nature species observations along with locality data on where they were seen (except for sensitive species).
All photos contributed are given an expert ID and the data contributes to future conservation planning.
Horticultural support & Garden Guides
Are you a keen gardener or knowledgeable plant enthusiast? Many of our local branches are based at or have links with South Africa’s botanical gardens that have opportunities for you to get involved as a volunteer, working to support the gardens’ horticultural staff or leading garden tours as a garden guide.
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These botanical gardens are living plant collections that play a vital role in conservation and environmental education as well as being important green recreational spaces for the communities that they serve.
BotSoc’s Garden Route Branch in George, for example, offers horticultural volunteering at the Propagation Yard every Wednesday morning at 9am. See their Facebook page for more information. SANBI offers volunteer opportunities at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens both offering horticultural support in the collections nursery and as volunteer garden guides. Please contact the Kirstenbosch Branch office for more information on how to get involved.
Download volunteer application forms from the SANBI website here.
Join your local branch committee
Our branches are the life and soul of the Botanical Society. They depend on the keen and enthusiastic volunteers who run them and the branch programme of activities. More volunteers are always welcome. Serving on a Branch Committee is a highly rewarding way to give back to BotSoc and your community and to be a driver of community conservation.
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You may have a specific area of expertise that can be put to use in the branch such as biodiversity conservation, botany, finance or green communications and social media. Committee members are elected at each branch’s annual general meeting. Contact your local branch to find out more and offer your help.
Volunteer online with SANBI
Citizen scientists from anywhere in the world can support digitisation of vital botanical information resources through SANBI’s innovative online transcription platform. Using this, volunteers help transcribe thousands of historical museum and herbaria specimens dating back more than 150 years to make them available to scientists and the general public. For more information on how to get involved, go to: www.transcribe.sanbi.org
Locate your Branch
Monday to Friday 08h30 to 16h00. Closed on weekends and public holidays.
T +27 (0) 21 797 2090
Or contact us by sending a Whatsapp message to +27 65 922 6163 during our office hours.