Summer School teaches botanic lingo

18 January 2011 | Story by Newsroom

FynbosBotanic language: Lecturer Wendy Hitchcock uses a plant to illustrate her point on the Summer School course now running.

There is probably no better a place than the Botanical Gardens at Kirstenbosch to conduct an introductory course on identifying fynbos plants.

Here many of the 9 000 different species of fynbos plants can be found, and is therefore an ideal environment for the lessons in basic botany offered at the UCT Summer School Course.

The five-day course, which started on 17 January, is one of 50-plus programmes on offer at this year's Summer School.

Lecturer Wendy Hitchcock, an environmental educator who has run the course over 20 times, explained that the course is popular and caters for people of all abilities.

"Amateur botanists can make an important contribution to conserving our rich heritage of fynbos plants," Hitchcock said. "They can do so by assisting professional botanists and conservation organizations such as CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildlife) with field work, documenting the occurrence of species that may be threatened due to the destruction of their habitats through insensitive developments of roads, shopping centers, houses, farms, etc."

However, Hitchcock noted, there are no shortcuts to getting to know fynbos species; getting out in the field and learning through trial and error is the tried and tested method.

Participants on the course varied from hikers and environmental volunteers and workers who want to increase their understanding of botany.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.