BioWise living - Nature reconnect
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Alfred Street, Amahlathi
Demar Centre Main Road
Wildlife Conservation in South Africa (Online Fundraising Conference).
What is even better is that the fundraising continues! Yes, this is ‘the conference that keeps giving!’ Buy a post event ticket and join the community!
Speakers and presentations include:
Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Nature's Valley Trust
Cape Leopard Trust
Zululand Conservation Trust
Provet Animal Hospital
Endangered Wildlife Trust
& BioWise Garden Route Knysna
Plus Terry Lee Honiball
The event is laid out in a lesson and e-learning format so you can enjoy it on-demand at any time.
You can catch up at https://theexpeditionproject.com/course/wildlife-conservation-in-south-africa-conference-2021/ 💚
⭐️ Keep an eye on our EVENTS page for more fabulous opportunities in the future! ⭐️
⭐️ Meet our wonderful !
A BIG thank you from us to the team who worked hard behind the scenes to bring together . You all worked so hard and it paid off!! We couldn’t have done it without you
The ambassadors support us throughout the year helping develop our courses, taking part in live streams and even have their own Instagram page give them a follow to keep up with their TEP journey 💚
In collaboration with:
University of Nottingham Vet Society
Dick Vet Wildlife Conservation Society
RVC Zoological Society
What did 2020 and a world of lockdowns teach us?
Biomimicry might be your answer to help you…re-evaluate, re-discover and re-connect!
Biomimicry Online (by BioWise Garden Route Knysna) - an innovative new course guiding us how to learn from and emulate nature and take inspiration from the world around us 💚
📽by Green Renaissance and Sentient Pictures
Starting 6pm (GMT), 4th November for 24 hours you can purchase any Biomimicry Module for just £15 (and only R150 ZAR for South African members)💫
Sue Swain (BioWise Garden Route Knysna) quoting Janine Benyus and talking about …
“It offers a fresh perspective and a new way of seeing and thinking. It questions our current perception of as merely a warehouse of resources to extract from at will and offers a fascinating alternative – viewing Nature rather as a ‘ we can learn from’ (Janine Benyus).
More than that though, biomimicry recognizes the evolved wisdom behind the patterns, processes and principles found in the living world and provides us with Nature’s time-tested blueprint for thriving on earth.
Through biomimicry, a new way of doing and being awaits us.
Biomimicry Online is a journey of discovery into Nature’s genius and the concept and practice of biomimicry.
Developed by Sue Swain and hosted by The Expedition Project, Biomimicry Online aims to complement existing online biomimicry courses out there by focusing not on biomimicry as an approach to innovation, but instead as a way of being, a way of life.”
The complete course is 11.5 HOURS / 82 LESSONS!
You can buy the whole thing during our 24hour sale for a massive discount: https://theexpeditionproject.com/product/biomimicry-online-complete/
OR buy module by module: https://theexpeditionproject.com/product-category/online-courses/biomimicry-online/
JOIN US LIVE @ 6pm (GMT), 4th November 2021
www.theEXPEDITIONproject.com >> GET INVOLVED >> LIVE-STREAMS
2020 brought about a tremendous amount of reflection around the world. With reflection comes re-evaluating. With re-evaluating comes a redesign of your life...
If you would like to take a new journey with us then join us over at Biomimicry Online: https://theexpeditionproject.com/product-category/online-courses/biomimicry-online/
- An online course broken up into accessible modules of 2 hours each
- Each module is self contained allowing you to take small steps but gain deep insight
- A combination of recorded video lessons, text transcripts, photo examples, exercises, live-streams, quizzes and additional resources
- Course access does not expire while you are a TEP member and you can complete modules at home
- Learn about connections to the Global Goals and other projects
- And a certificate of completion
Biomimicry is probably one of the most important concepts of current times but what is exciting about it is that it can come naturally...after all it is all about emulating nature’s genius.
The undeniable wisdom of Sue Swain of BioWise Garden Route Knysna, will guide you through a series of online modules and in doing so not only open your eyes but encourage you to collaborate with us on your own path...
- Learn from nature with ‘to the point’ lessons
- Several presentation methods including video, text, photo, exercises, quizzes, case studies and background information will help any learning style
- Complete lessons at your own pace, wherever you want
- Ask questions during our monthly livestreams
- Convert your online course into ‘at home practice’ with our help
See for yourself - Read our reviews or ask our past or current learners what they think!
Choice fatigue? BOOK first PAY LATER - schedule a video call to get more info, ask questions and get a sample of what’s available: https://doodle.com/mm/rogerwynne/the-expedition-project
As a social enterprise your support will go into developing more outstanding products and also support conservation and community organisations we feature and collaborate with - the likes of Nature's Valley Trust, Provet Animal Hospital, Cape Leopard Trust, Pebbles Project and many more!
But we know times are tough, so if you become a TEP member you will get a massive discount! Enquire for more details.
Market rate is £20-£50 per hour for similar products but Biomimicry Online is ONLY £15 per hour!
But ACT FAST because this introductory offer will only last for a limited time!
We GUARANTEE that if after you’ve completed your first module you are not completely happy we will give you a 100% refund!
Let the journey begin! 💚🌱
PS: Don’t forget that our price will have to go up SOON!
BioWise Garden Route Knysna, South Africa 🇿🇦
Biowise Solutions purpose is to facilitate the uptake of biomimicry by creating a biomimicry hub in the heart of the Garden Route that serves as model and inspiration for others and effectively aims to be the pulse of biomimicry throughout Africa. This biomimicry hub will be an [eco]system in its own rights, one that is inspired by and modelled on natural ecosystems and measured by the standards of our natural world.
VISION - A world modelled on natural ecosystems and processes where all life thrives as part of a waste-free, inter-dependent, resourceful, resilient and regenerative system.
MISSION -To effect positive change by promoting and enabling the practice of biomimicry i.e. of learning from and emulating life’s genius.
PURPOSE - Our purpose is to inspire and enable the uptake of biomimicry by individuals and households, by professionals and academia, by businesses and industry, by organisations and schools, by towns and communities and by municipalities and government.
APPROACH - We believe in the value of partnerships and networking and this underpins our approach.
Opportunities to support Biowise are:
1)Take a look at our Biomimicry Online courses category where you will find three modules ideal for those passionate about our world and the sustainable possibilities as well as students involved with Biomimicry, Engineering and Bioscience studies or fields relating to wildlife conservation and environmental management.
🍃 Biomimicry As A Way Of Being
🌎 Rediscovering Our Planet
🐛 Reconnecting With Life on Earth
2) Purchase a post event Wildlife Conservation in South Africa online conference ticket where you can replay talks, panels, join in on text forums and more!
3) Watch Biomimicry Online Live on the first Thursday of each month over @ theEXPEDITIONproject.com/livestreams
From midnight Friday 28 May to midnight Sunday 30 May, 60% discount❗️
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION IN SOUTH AFRICA (ONLINE CONFERENCE) - 5th/6th June
Includes 3 parts: 1) BEFORE THE EVENT - pre-conference forums, videos and information; 2) DURING THE EVENT - live presentations, live q&a’s, live panels, live chat rooms, PLUS 3) AFTER THE EVENT - conference certificate and post event replays, ongoing forums and ways to help from home!
Speakers and presentations include:
Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Nature's Valley Trust
Cape Leopard Trust
Zululand Conservation Trust
Provet Animal Hospital
Endangered Wildlife Trust
& BioWise Garden Route Knysna
PLUS a tourism panel including:
Crawfords Beach Lodge
Travelbug Rose Blogger
Designed by Isabel Beardwood NUVZS (University of Nottingham) with the help of Dick Vet Wildlife Conservation Society and RVC Zoological Society
For tickets: https://theexpeditionproject.com/product/wildlife-conservation-in-south-africa-conference-2021/
Biowise - living But more than that, it is about learning to live, again, in a rich relationship with Life on Earth.
‘Biowise living’ uses the natural practices of ‘biomimicry, as a way of being’’, this involves learning to live in sync with the rest of Nature –discovering and applying her secrets to thriving on earth in a way that enhances the wellbeing of all. My name is Sue Swain and I teach the ideals and practices of biomimicry in Knysna the Garden Route. I have created “Nature Reconnect” forest tours, and
The cicadas have been in fine 'voice' these past few nights and I was fortunate enough to see this one in the morning on the trunk of my old plum tree, wonderfully camouflaged amidst the lichen and bark. I was struck by the size - I never realised they are that big. Their wings have a beautiful transparency to them, not immediately evident - I only noticed this when he climbed onto my hand. Their famous piercing high frequency sound is produced only by males who have a special organ called a tymbal that contains a series of ribs that buckle one after the other when the cicada flexes his muscles. Every time a rib buckles, it produces a click....how fascinating is that...a clicking rib that can be quite deafening! The males synchronise their calls to form a chorus that establishes territory and attracts females. Cicadas help to aerate the soils and improve water infiltration into the ground. They also provide a service to trees by pruning the weaker branches and are a very important part of the food chain. I greatly enjoyed meeting this fellow and sharing a calm, quiet encounter of mutual awareness of each other
Was thrilled to see this group of Ink Caps during yesterday's forest immersion with guests from Vala House. They've emerged in the very same spot where I had my first sighting of an Ink Cap mushroom five months ago. At that time, it was just the single fellow you see on the left and I've been keeping an eye out, wondering when next one might emerge. You can imagine my excitement when I was greeted by this family of 5! I recall that the single one was around only for a very short time - sporing very quickly and then decomposing in a matter of days. Such a treat and a privilege to witness the comings and goings of forest fungi!
Just had a friend forward this to me - such a special reminder of the childhood things we loved to do and the simple joys in life! When last did you do some cloud spotting, creek following, tree climbing, star gazing? As I post this, the rain is starting to gently fall, so I am going to add 'rain dancing' to this list and go out and do just that! Thanks for the share Willemien!
Biomimicry Online Live 13
We are LIVE:
Biomimicry Online Live 13 Biomimicry Online Live returns with episode 13 on Tuesday, 14th March 2023 at 6.30pm GMT / 8.30pm SASTSeries: Biomimicry Online LiveEpisode: 13Featuring: Sue...
A reminder of our live online chat with award-winning photographer, Alan McFadyen, on Tuesday the 14th of March at 20:30 SAST (18:30 UK time). Here is the direct link you can use to access it https://theexpeditionproject.com/live/biomimicry-online-live-13/
We look forward to you joining us and to your questions. Many thanks to Alan for the kind permission to use this photo - such a gorgeous one that says so much
I was out at my compost growing beds this morning after the brilliant rain of the last two days and was greeted by the sound of bees....and managed to capture the one who was there inside at the base of a gem squash flower, gathering pollen and nectar and then emerged with that healthy dusting of pollen all over her!! So wonderful to see (you have to look carefully at the photo on the left to see her inside at the base).
Now I got an amazing crop of gem squash - more than 30 of them, but the newly emerging ones are now being stung. I'm not really surprised as the plants have grown so big that they're their own billboard for insects. That said, I have decided not to pull up the plants, but let them continue for precisely the reason that the flowers are great for the bees and today's photo has confirmed my decision. Other plants....tomatoes, sweet potato and butternut....are starting to grow - all self-germinated with me just tossing the seeds in the compost and letting them sort themselves out. The greater diversity will likely/hopefully discourage the stinging insects - will wait and see. But for now, I'm simply enjoying the sight of all the diversity found in and visiting these grow beds and of digging in the soil with my hands and coming up with heaps of earthworms!
Can you imagine what it must have taken to capture this moment.....the hours of waiting, the patience, the excitement when conditions appeared to be just right? Well, you don't have to wonder too much....you can hear all about it on the evening of Tuesday, the 14th of March when Alan McFadyen, who took this fantastic, award-winning photo, will be joining Roger and me for a live... and lively chat as part of our Biomimicry Online Live series. Not only will we hear about how this photo came together, but we'll be chatting about his career as a photographer and the lessons learned witnessing Nature's resilience and patience in this time. We look forward to you joining us at 20:30 SA time on the 14th of March for this special episode.
I had a wonderful experience the other day when out in the garden. I suddenly heard a swarm of bees buzzing around the Monkey Plum tree near my porch. Thinking they were just showing interest in the newly emerging flowers, I was very excited to see, on closer inspection, that they were busy forming a nest in amongst the branches. It was fascinating to watch their singular focus and how it went from a calabash shape with a neck to a rounded structure in no time at all, with the queen bee sheltered in the centre. I shared the news with my wonderful bee conservationist friend, Grant Livesey who told me that this was a 'trek swarm' - formed when a hive has been disturbed or perhaps foraging opportunities have dried up and they go out looking for a new place where they can set up home. They spent the night and then slipped off the next morning. I felt enormously privileged that they had chosen a spot in my garden to rest up and I wish them well in their search for an ideal habitat. I was so in the moment, that I failed to take a photo, but Grant shared the one attached of a similar 'trek swarm' that had rested up in a tree right in the middle of Knysna town! If ever you need the services of a bee-keeper here in the Garden Route - Grant is your man - extraordinarily passionate and caring, incredibly knowledgeable and beautifully in love with bees. You can contact him on 082 896 2346
What I love about the forest immersions enjoyed with guests, is the gentle pace where the simple act of slowing down allows one to witness beings and moments in time that would otherwise go unnoticed...like a trampolining spider's web where you wouldn't even think there was a breeze....or the mating chameleons spotted some months back...or this beauty, and it's the second time I've seen him on exactly the same decomposing branch. Turns out, not many have spotted him (as in his particular species)! Thanks to Nanna Joubert who never fails to help with identification, it was exciting to learn that he is endemic to the Southern Cape (and the only other iNaturalist sighting is also in the forest) and is formally named "Liparocystis delicata" . He is absolutely gorgeous - very visually striking when seen in the flesh, and I shall greet him as 'My beauty' each time I hopefully see him. I look forward to those moments and to making and taking the time to quietly and deeply connect with him. What a wonderful privilege that is going to be, my beauty.
Had a special morning in the forest yesterday with beautiful guests from Vala House - we were treated to a feast of fungi, a gloriously camouflaged frog, a shy bushbuck who gifted us a brief glimpse before disappearing into the mottled shadows, the delightful chuckles of the green wood hoopoe, the cry of a forest buzzard, the wonderful dappled light, the soft sound of a gently flowing stream and, of course, simply being in the presence of trees, breathing the fresh air enriched with the airborne healing aromatherapy of the tree phytoncides (proven, among others, to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve sleep patterns). There's nothing quite like tuning into the sense of place and pace of the forest - you see and experience so much when you do and discover countless lessons from the forest in the process.
With the summer heat and the rain on occasion providing the ideal humidity and temperatures, the fungi have come out in their glorious diversity in the forest. What I enjoy noting afterwards when I look at the photos, is seeing the richness of the forest floor, something you don't necessarily pick up on when focusing on the mushrooms - Nature's colour palettes are stunning.
How amazing is this? Such extraordinary camouflage. I hasten to add, this is not my video/footage, it was shared on WhatsApp with no details provided, but thanks to the person who filmed and shared this. I believe this is an Australian Tawny Frogmouth bird and her chick - thanks to my friend Charlene for the identification! While they look like owls, they are actually related to nightjars and they mate for life, sharing parental roles of nest-building (though they are not very adept at this), incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks.
They are incredible mimics. Making use of ‘cryptic colouring’ that mimics the hues and patterns of the environment, they look exactly like bits of old wood thanks to their dappled grey and striped feathers – but they complete the disguise by arranging themselves creatively on old trunks thereby appearing to be part of a particular tree. It’s fascinating when you stop to think of how this means of camouflage unfolded over time. It comes as no surprise that some Aboriginal cultures believed the frogmouth to be a magical bird able to turn itself into wood.
But their mimicry doesn’t end there. They have exceptionally wide beaks by which they scoop up insects flying around at night and small mammals. And it is thought that the bright yellow colour on the inside of their wide mouth and the whisker-like feathers all around the mouth resemble a nocturnal flower that acts as a lure for these very insects.
How I love Nature's diversity and ingenuity.
BREATHE by Becky Hemsley
"She sat at the back
and they said she was shy,
she led from the front
and they hated her pride
They asked her advice
and then questioned her guidance.
They branded her loud
then were shocked by her silence.
When she shared no ambition
they said it was sad
so she told them her dreams
and they said she was mad.
They told her they'd listen
then covered their ears
and gave her a hug
whilst they laughed at her fears.
And she listened to all of it
thinking she should
be the girl they told her to be
best as she could.
But one day she asked
what was best for herself
instead of trying to please
So she walked to the forest
and stood with the trees,
she heard the wind whisper
and dance with the leaves.
And she spoke to the willow,
the elm and the pine
and she told them what she'd been told,
time after time.
She told them she never
felt nearly enough
she was either too little,
or far, far too much.
Too loud or too quiet,
too fierce or too weak,
too wise or too foolish,
too bold, or too meek.
Then she found a small clearing
surrounded by firs
and she stopped and she heard
what the trees said to her.
And she sat there for hours
not wanting to leave -
for the forest said nothing,
it just let her breathe."
Such a stunning poem. Wishing everyone the opportunity to head into a forest, sit in her embracing silence, and just breathe!
Phone in the Wind - what an interesting and beautiful idea this is - an unconnected phone in nature that brings comfort and helps people to feel connected to loved ones they've lost.
The first such wind phone (also called ‘phone to nowhere’) was created in Japan, by Itaru Sasaki in 2010 to help him cope with his cousin’s death. Itaru set it up in his garden so that he could continue to feel connected to his cousin by ‘talking’ to him on the phone and having his thoughts ‘carried on the wind’.
His garden and wind phone were opened to the public in the following year after the 2011 Tohoku tsunami killed over 15 000 people. The wind phone has since received over 30 000 visitors.
This concept has been taken up around the world, with several similar ‘phones in the wind’ having been set up in healing gardens, parks and on nature trails. According to bereavement counsellors, externalizing the grief is an important part of the mourning process and for many who have used the wind phones, it’s the act of putting the phone to their ear, having a conversation and expressing their feelings that’s powerful and healing. The phone serves as 'an intermediary, offering people a place to channel their grief by letting them speak to loved ones who have died'
It’s interesting that it’s the old-fashioned corded phone that does the trick – but perhaps it’s no wonder. When cordless phones and mobiles came along, the attentive conversations focused on doing nothing else but sitting and talking and listening, often became replaced by distracted, multi-tasking chats and listening with half an ear. I wonder if the cord itself doesn’t help establish a sense of connection. And, of course, it is surely the natural setting that plays a major part – somehow I can’t see this having the same effect if the phone was set up on a busy street corner? But what a wonderful idea, made all the more special by its simplicity and tacit understanding of Nature’s healing powers.
These photos were found on the internet. The garden booth photo was taken by Matthew Komatsu, the phone in the forest by Ben Nelms/CBC and the white phone by Sterling Goulding
Now this is fascinating to see - all the trees growing under this old gum tree....are indigenous keurbooms that have come up and are thriving. On the farm where I live, many gums were planted in the late 1880s as a windbreak - much to the delight and benefit of the bees, I have to add. In the 2017 fires, many of these old gums died - the fire got into their roots which smouldered and burnt for days and then these huge old beings toppled over. Some gums managed to hold on and this is where it has got interesting with all these Keurbooms having emerged underneath them. In places, there are a couple (literally) of young gums that are growing amidst the Keurboom, but the latter are the stronger. So perhaps, as gums get older, they mature naturally from their pioneering competitive phase and move into a more collaborative state of being? I saw this same thing happening in Brackenhill where apparently the oldest gums in SA are growing....and doing so in the upper reaches of the Noetzie River watercourse. Under these huge old gums were emerging candlewoods, monkey plums and indigenous shrubs.
Nature always evolves towards greater diversity (diversity being her insurance policy) and perhaps this is exactly what is playing out in these cases? Perhaps we just need to trust that, over time, things will start to balance out again. Perhaps the more we declare war on alien species and continue to cut them down in huge swathes, the more we keep them in the pioneering competitive space and mindset. What if our approach was a gentler thinning out, giving our indigenous trees some breathing space, allowing them to flex their limbs and gain home territory advantage again? Perhaps, in this way, we can help to 'naturalise' the non-indigenous trees - encouraging them to learn to grow in collaboration with the indigenous as opposed to them seeing their role as needing to take over? And by so doing, indigenous biodiversity as a whole can recover and thrive? I understand the challenges posed by the underlying seed beds and the potential for germination and the process starting all over again, but somehow, I think Nature has got this...but she operates in time frames that take longer than our impatient toddler mindsets can accept. However, when it comes to alien trees (as opposed to faster growing shrubs), is the strategy of clearing whole landscapes of vegetative cover really the best strategy to pursue...exposing soils, resulting in erosion and topsoil loss, causing increased temperatures? Anyway, just some thoughts inspired by the scene of Keurbooms and Gums who seem to be enjoying each other's company.
Look at the wonderful bounty I just harvested from my compost grow bed. The result of not having purchased veggie seedlings, but having spent some time on nurturing the compost grow bed (gathering animal p**p from the fields and layering this with fresh grass cuttings and repeating and letting Nature do her composting thing while watering on occasion...and then simply scattering seeds from a gem squash some time ago, and allowing things to play out in their own way). I didn't plant the seeds as such, nor did I space them - I scattered and let them sort it out between themselves. The only weeding I did was that of some grass that came up and removing some castor oil seedlings that must have been deposited by a bird. All insect and animal life was embraced and I must say I am amazed at the number of small spiders that are part of the system.
I had picked one gem previously and, at the risk of sounding biased, it was the tastiest one I've ever had - no need to add salt or spices or anything!!
Oh yes, and I've made these compost beds on an unused section of concrete/slasto - so just think how much food we could be growing in sections of our concrete jungles.
I was given this lovely cycad (together with the permit) more than 12 years ago as thanks for a presentation I'd given on biomimicry. And I am so thrilled to be witnessing the first blooming of this special plant. These photos are exactly 2 weeks apart.
Isn't this simply extraordinary? Came across this bird's nest that had fallen to the ground. I'm pretty sure it is that of a wagtail - but irrespective - the artistry and intricacy of the design is breathtaking. Imagine the loving care with which each small twig would have been selected, each bit of lichen, moss and bark gathered. Imagine the time taken to weave the different elements together in such a way as to provide a wonderfully camouflaged outer and a warm, gently sheltering inner...and done without the benefit of hands and fingers. It is as humbling as it is beautiful....it is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. And, having served its purpose, it will return to the earth to nourish the trees whose branches would have sheltered it.
So, yes indeed, it was a chameleon....well, actually two of them...on the job!! The red arrow is pointing to the one that was on top and is now busy moving off, stretching out his/her right forelimb. The yellow arrow is pointing to the head of the 2nd chameleon. The eye is facing away from the camera but it was the eye that made me realise what I was seeing - at first all I could make out was a fleshy bundle. They had the strangest of colours and patterns. It was a truly extraordinary sighting.
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