The government of Finland is assisting the North West and Gauteng Provincial government with the proposed Biosphere in the Magaliesberg. Vincent and Jane Carruthers went to get a first-hand look at the environmental work in Finland.
A host of ideas were identified which may - or may not - fit with the Magaliesberg Biosphere.
Here are some conversation starters:
Good information in at least three languages was available at every site visited. This lifts the visit from "casual" to interesting and brings an understanding of the value and significance of the site.
A good service centre with a wide range of information for local residents and visitors, staffed by competent and knowledgeable people.
Maintain a database of information about visitors to the area. This feeds directly into planning and development decisions, translating into practical and useful services on the ground.
A biosphere is also a programme of activities - educational, social, historic, etc.
Have GREAT guides. Train them well, and ensure they are both knowledgeable and have good presentation skills. The emphasis should not be on job creation, but rather on sustaining the interest and support in the very region that will continue to provide the jobs which will alleviate poverty (see Conservation and poverty reduction)
Identify historical sites for visitors, and share the history of the region. This may counteract the discontinuation of history in schools.
Establish "Magalies Significant Sites" - small, significant gems from military graves to birding sites.
Continue to develop the concept of a Magaliesberg Festival. Read about the first festival - Living Naturally.
Research and school projects should be popularised. Broader awareness of the projects and their outcomes may unite the public behind the value of the Biosphere.
Create a forum for debate on socio-environmental issues for discussion on an ongoing basis.
And more. To engage on these or any other topic, please write to us. Download the report.