Berg River youth training

Berg River conservation and training

One Planet is helping the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve to raise awareness for environmental conservation and training projects; see One of the ecologically endangered parts of this UNESCO world heritage site is the Berg River, which has become heavily polluted by ghettos dumping raw sewage and other effluents into ditches and gullies that feed into the river. The health of this river and the region that lives off it, starts at source. Many ghetto-kids have never been out of their slums and have no awareness of their importance in the cycle of care. Even a small amount of funding goes a long way in giving disadvantaged youth some basic skills training on how to look after themselves and their environment and get a better perspective in life. CWBR-organized youth-training camps and hikes have a big leverage-effect on social upliftment and environmental protection.

The CWBR conservation and training campaign is highlighted by a huge painting of the Berg River ‘from-source-to-sea’. At 35m2 this now has the Guinness World Record for ‘Largest oil painting done by a single artist’. The painting was brought to One Planet in Amersfoort in October 2018 before moving to the Annual Dutch Art Fair in Amsterdam. It will help raise funds for youth development in the Cape Winelands Biosphere slums.


The artist, Charles Simon Frank, an advocate by profession, is passionate about conservation and water is a constant theme in his art. In 2014, he sculpted the Knysna seahorse as part of the official launch of the Knysna Estuary when it was proclaimed an international ‘Hope Spot’. He also painted a large painting under water, nicknamed ‘Water Birth,’ which is now displayed in the eco-centre at the Simonsberg Conservancy.

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Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve

The CWBR was proclaimed in 2007 as UNESCO’s 5th biosphere reserve in South Africa. It was  established as a section-21 non-profit association to manage the biosphere reserve in terms of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program. It’s goals are:

  • Rehabilitate destroyed biodiversity and ecosystems by working with local and international stakeholders
  • Help create and maintain a healthy environment for people and their families.
  • Encourage diverse local economies and create opportunities for growth and jobs.
  • Promoting sustainable development by developing, partnering and engaging with scientific initiatives within Biosphere Reserves
  • Promote educational programmes and youth development.
  • Collaboration with all tiers of government, tertiary institutions, business and civil society, and find finance for solutions the Man and Biosphere programme.

Contact: Mark Heistein  tel +27 79 747 4632. See CWBR-projects

Youth projects run by CWBR

The CWBR hikes help underpriviledged youth from 14–24 years from all backgrounds, including orphanages and inmates. They go on Adventure Journeys of 24–80 km over 2–4 days. Working closely with the President’s Award, these outings give young people in risky home situations, exposure to new opportunities and help develop self-esteem. Many of them have never before been outside their ghettos and this is the first time they experience nature.

Field- Guides Association of South Africa Training With sponsorship from the Luxemburg Edu-Link program, CWBR facilitates and funds field guide courses for trainees who would otherwise not have such an opportunity. The three-month intensive course equips trainees with field-guiding skills and team and coaching skills to help them become employable. They gain independence and exposure to travel. The course is run by a head lecturer who mentors and monitors the students. Guest lecturers, many of whom are internationally recognised specialists in their field, are called in to teach certain parts of the syllabus.