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This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond. 

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Students take to the Veld

If rocks could talk, the Conservancy would be an entire encyclopaedia.  A Rockipedia!  The local rock formations have fascinated academics, gold diggers, stone masons and ordinary citizens for decades.

Two dozen third-year and honours students from the Geology Department of the University of Pretoria recently spent a week doing their practicals in the Conservancy, supervised by the Department's Dr Adam Bumby.

“Geology is a practical science where students need to learn to describe, identify and interpret rocks that have many different facets and varieties,” said Professor Wlady Altermann, who arranged the trip.  “In nature these often look different from the small specimens examined in the laboratory.  Field relationships of rocks to each other and to mineral deposits cannot be taught on small hand specimens in a laboratory only.

“We were delighted to find a new mapping site in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, relatively close to Pretoria.  Mapping camps of several days duration on these grounds, covering the basement granites and the lower Transvaal Supergroup rocks, are now possible.

“I want to thank the Conservancy for making it possible and also the landowners who gave permission for the students to work on their properties.

“If first year students are not given the opportunity to be out in the field, many realize only in the second or third year that the professional geologist’s work is actually not office work.  They have no chance to be exposed to 'real rocks' under natural conditions.”

Prof Altermann and Dr Bumby will lead geological walks through the Rhenosterspruit Conservancy for residents and interested people in the near future.  Keep an eye on our Conservation Calendar for dates!

Alan Kennedy sent in this photograph which clearly shows tidal marks from the time when this area was a shallow sea.  Photograph taken on his property in Doornrandje.

Waves lapping a shore long ago