Botany & Zoology
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Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration

The Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration project was started in 2013 by Professor Anton Pauw (SU), Dr Sjirk Geerts (CPUT) and Bongani Mnisi (CoCT).  Ingcungcu (plural Iingcungcu) is an isiXhosa word meaning 'long-billed bird', and is also used to refer to royalty. Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration is based on three pillars which define the key aspects of the organisation – Science, Education and Restoration. These three pillars form the structure for the organisation's integrated approach to restoring migration routes for nectar-feeding birds.  The project aims to link the Table Mountain National Park with the Boland Mountains via a series of pollinator gardens that will act as filling stations for migrating sunbirds and sugarbirds crossing the densely urbanized Cape Flats. We aim to achieve this by planting indigenous gardens of carefully selected nectar-rich species at strategically located schools and community centres. Apart from providing nectar for birds, the gardens are outdoor learning spaces for students and the surrounding communities. This ecological corridor will also link the isolated patches of critically endangered lowland vegetation that remain on the Cape Flats.

Ingcungcu​ is currently working with nine schools in Cape Town where we are planting indigenous fynbos gardens of nectar-rich plants to provide 'filling stations' for birds and outdoor classrooms for students. Throughout the process of establishing these gardens, students and teachers are involved through hands-on workshops which focus on planning and design, soil preparation, plant identification and the wonders of fynbos, garden maintenance and monitoring. The school children are also taken on field trips to local nature reserves. In this way Ingcungcu aims to inspire curiosity, facilitate learning and foster a strong connection to the wonders of nature. Through fun, creative and immersive activities, learners are exposed to the rich biodiversity on their doorstep.

Pollinating Pride in People is a collaborative project between Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration and Amava Oluntu​. Collectively, these programmes aim to promote fynbos conservation through hands-on experience, skills development, entrepreneurial opportunities for youth and community engagement. Pollinating Pride in People has two components: the Pollinator Garden Program and the Youth Entrepreneurial program. The Pollinator Garden Program offers monthly workshops to community members focussed on exploring the wonders of fynbos, why it is valuable, how to grow it and what medicinal uses it has. The Youth Entrepreneurship Programme offers entrepreneurial training and mentorship for youth/young adults focusing on communication, design and print-making skills to promote fynbos conservation and encourage the development of micro-businesses.

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