“Ingcungcu is unique in that it is based on scientific research, which continues to determine the ecological and sociological directions of the work.”Prof Sjirk Geerts
Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration is based on three pillars which define the key aspects of the organisation – Science, Education and Restoration. These three pillars form the structure for the organisation’s integrated approach to restoring migration routes for nectar-feeding birds. Underpinning these pillars is the belief that building strong collaborative and long-term partnerships is the foundation for ensuring sustainability and success.
To monitor the success of the gardens, monthly bird counts are conducted at each school, contributing to a long-term data set of species abundance and diversity. This data forms an integral part of the scientific research that underpins our work.
Ingcungcu is currently working with nine schools in Cape Town where we are planting indigenous fynbos gardens of nectar-rich plants to provide ‘filling stations’ for birds and outdoor classrooms for students. Throughout the process of establishing these gardens, students and teachers are involved through hands-on workshops which focus on planning and design, soil preparation, plant identification and the wonders of fynbos, garden maintenance and monitoring.
By taking school children on field trips to local nature reserves, Ingcungcu aims to inspire curiosity, facilitate learning and foster a strong connection to the wonders of nature. Through fun, creative and immersive activities, learners are exposed to the rich biodiversity on their doorstep.
Access to locally indigenous plant material is essential for the ongoing expansion and success of our work. While we work closely with our partner nurseries who currently provide much of the required plant stock, we have also begun to grow and establish a small nursery, in which we are propagating various species from seed collected in the school gardens.
One of Ingcungcu’s key strengths is in our growing network of partners – schools, local businesses, organisations and academic institutions – establishing a sustainable model for long-term continuity and expansion. Through these partnerships, Incungcu is able to broaden its impact, build a network of support, and provide scientific advice to a community of initiatives working towards the common goal of nurturing education and connecting communities to nature on the Cape Flats.