On Friday the 27th May 2016 schoolboys from Michaelhouse and St Johns College (JHB) joined forces and spent the morning doing follow up work on a stretch of the upper Umgeni River.
The area tackled (just above the Dargle falls) had previously been cleared , both by “working for water” several years ago, and by landowners William Griffin and Chris Howie. As will become the case with all the areas cleared to date, this was follow-up work, eradicating re-growth of wattle and bug weed. This work, although arguably less glamorous that the felling of big trees, is going to become critical if we want to prevent the area reverting back to its overgrown condition.
The boys, with guidance from their respective teachers, Riegardt Kotze and Andrew Caldwell, as well as Roy Ward and Andrew Fowler, did a superb job, cutting and poisoning stems. Amongst other things the boys learned that these rivers get cold in winter; how to hold onto a panga tight when cutting; and not to walk through bramble barefoot!
Thanks to the boys, their schools, and the committed teachers. Thanks also to the Natal Fly Fishers Club for providing pangas, saws and gloves and to TWK Howick for discounted pricing on these items. We are thankful to Doug Burdon of DUCT who arranged chemicals to stop re-growth. And to Will Griffin and Craig Howie, who had staff working on the river on the same day.