Patrons and Ambassadors
Patrons and Ambassadors for the ORCT
These extraordinary individuals have pledged support for the work we are doing and given us their full backing. We are extremely honoured to have them on board.
Valiant Swart is a South African musician from the Winelands town of Stellenbosch. He performs in both Afrikaans and English in folk rock style and is a highly accomplished singer/songwriter and poet, having collaborated with other big SA names such as Jack Parow. His work is inspired by artists such as Koos Kombuis and Anton Goosen. He is no stranger to the Overberg and has performed some wonderful concerts in venues in Napier, Bredasdorp and the Elim Wine areas.
Says Valiant about the ORCT: The Overberg is one of the most beautiful areas in the Cape. So much of it has been sacrificed for farmland, which is understandable. The natural, pristine areas that remain need to be preserved and protected with care and vigour, however. Caring for nature is caring for ourselves and for others.
Richard Cowling is Professor in the Department of Botany at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is a globally renowned botanist, ecologist and conservation scientist with a career spanning over 35 years. Richard’s research interests span the fields of plant diversity and evolution, community ecology, conservation science and paleoecology. He has published over 350 peer reviewed journal articles as well as authored four books and 59 articles. Much of his ground-breaking research has been of significant relevance in applied conservation and has been implemented in the fields of ecological economics, ecosystem services, invasion biology and restoration ecology. Richard has worked hard to secure the Cape’s biodiversity and his efforts have led to more than 100,000 hectares of threatened habitat being conserved in protected areas in perpetuity.
Says Richard about the ORCT: Whenever I drive through the beautiful Overberg I feel comforted knowing that you are there.
I have cared passionately about Renosterveld since my early days as a student in the early 1970s. Long regarded as the scruffy relative of Fynbos, it is now recognised as an extraordinarily diverse vegetation and a locus of recent and rapid plant speciation. The OLCT is pioneering effective ways of enhancing its status in terms of both hectares protected and awareness created.
Elizabeth has been a friend and supporter of the ORCT since our inception as she cares very deeply for the magnificent flora of the Cape. Her family Trust, the Mapula Trust, is supporting the ORCT, while they also own the renowned reserve known as Elandsberg near Wellington in the Swartland where they protect thousands of hectares of Fynbos and Renosterveld.
Oren Taylor is one of the longest term supporters of the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust. South African by birth, after moving to the UK in 2000 he built a successful career in private equity, software development and business. Alongside his corporate career Oren is a dedicated environmentalist and a prominent and generous philanthropist to the conservation sector. He first became known to the Trust after placing the winning bid at an auction run by Fauna and Flora International to name the newly discovered Hesperantha kiaratayloriae after his daughter. This generous donation was just the beginning of Oren’s support of the Trust’s work. He now also donates his time to the ORCT, working alongside Odette to build a portfolio of regular corporate donors to build a more sustainable long term income for the Trust.
Says Oren about the ORCT:
“When I first met Odette I could feel her passion and all that excitement to do something. That goes a long way”.
“The point is that we haven’t even learnt about the things that we are about to lose. I think the world is a poorer place as long as we lose diversity in the world. It is about us and our future. Humankind’s future. The Renosterveld of the Overberg and the saving of it is directly linked to the future of humankind and it is through biodiversity, through any scientific gains. Who knows what plant is going to help save somebody? Knowledge is power. We’re losing knowledge and the loss is caused by our own hands so we have to save it with our own hands”.
“I have the great fortune of being involved in wonderful conservation projects in the United States and all around the world, but I consider the work of OCLT to be the most important – OCLT’s work to conserve a highly diverse and endangered ecosystem that is globally outstanding and a unique World Heritage Site is truly amazing – but equally amazing is how they involve local communities and farmers to pitch in and work together hand in hand to make magic happen.” David Houghton