When Lady Priscilla Bromley, 80, and her husband, Rupert, spontaneously hosted the first World Wetlands Day in Glencairn in 2002, they could never have imagined how it would impact the Glencairn vlei conservation area.
Lady Bromley and her husband, the 10th Baronet of Stoke near Nottingham, moved into The Old Manse which overlooks the wetlands in Glencairn in 2000.
Coming from Rivonia in Johannesburg, they were amazed by the beauty of the vlei and its surroundings.
After paging through his new 2002 diary, Sir Rupert noticed a listing in the front of the diary for World Wetlands Day in February and decided the day should be celebrated.
“It all happened so quickly, and I’m not sure how he organised everything, but it was such a lovely day,” says Lady Bromley.
After successfully hosting the first World Wetland Day celebration on the grounds of the St Andrew’s Church, with two marquee tents and talks and displays about alien vegetation and general information about the wetlands, the couple founded the
Glencairn Educational and Environmental Support Enthusiasts group (GEESE).
Geese is a group of people who are passionate about the Glencairn vlei and are working to keep it clean and protected.
The group does litter clean-ups, typha (reeds) clearance and many other environmental projects, such as servicing the 12 municipal litter bins on a weekly basis; assisting with managing and recording water levels; and keeping a checklist of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians on the vlei, as well as some of the flora.
Also, over the years, the
group has put up several benches, placed stepping stones along the causeway, built a suspended bridge alongside the Glen Road bridge over the Els River and commissioned several notice boards and pictorial maps of the valley.
The group also serves on the Western Cape Wetlands Forum, which consists of experts in numerous fields concerned with the health of wetlands.
After her husband’s death in 2018, Lady Bromley remained on the committee and currently serves as the secretary of Geese. She spends every Monday working in the vlei and says it is not an easy task.
“The wetlands must look natural and can’t look manicured so you have to know how to clear vegetation and trim the paths in the correct manner,” she says.
Ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock says Lady Bromley is well known in the community and she and her husband have done amazing work in the wetlands over many years.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil of Sun Valley Eco Watch said Lady Bromley and her late husband did and still do a fabulous job of maintaining the Glencairn wetlands. She is also involved in various other community and environmental projects.
“Cilla (Lady Bromley) has been a source of great support for me and Sun Valley Eco Watch, and regularly comes along to our events and always sends encouraging messages,” Ms Gray-Kilfoil said.
Simon’s Town Business Association chairperson, Liesel Coetzer, said Lady Bromley has been an active member of the community for many years and Geese is also part of the Simon’s Town Joint Association Members (JAM), which
included the business association, the civic association and the historical association.
For more information about Geese, visit its
website at geeseglencairn.org or if you want to join as a volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org