A special Wednesday morning on 14 January 2015 saw a large group participate in the 85th birthday of Frank Woodvine and the inauguration of a bench by the Hermanus Botanical Society in honour of Frank’s service to conservation both in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve (FNR) and elsewhere. The bench overlooks the FNR between jeep track gates 1 and 2. There were glasses of champagne and cake and speeches by Pat Miller and the Marais and a reply by Frank. Ian Marais constructed the bench from wood supplied by Frank
Frank left Zimbabwe after answering an advertisement in the Sunday Times for the post of curator of Fernkloof Nature Reserve. He took up the position in 1976 and served as curator of Fernkloof for almost 20 years. On retirement in 1995 he served as chair of the Fernkloof Advisory Board for five years, and as a member for many more. His involvement with the Cliff Path Management Group has given him the opportunity to make an ongoing contribution in one of his favourite places in Hermanus, the remnant of indigenous forest known as Piet-se-Bos. Here he is continuing his restoration work begun many years previously, by planting milkwood and other indigenous trees. He is also the environmental consultant for the Bouchard Finlayson wine estate and. amongst other activities on the estate. is restoring a large wetland, removing alien vegetation, laying out kilometres of hiking trails and instituting a composting programme for the waste products of wine making which recycles them back into the vineyards.
Frank has lived a life dedicated to conservation and continues to do so. His knowledge of our environment is not only broad, but also deep. The many tourists that have benefitted from his guided tours of the beauty of our constantly threated natural environment leave with an appreciation of the inter-relatedness and inter-dependency of its various aspects. They also have a lot of fun! As the plaque on your bench says, Frank, we salute you!