It’s been a decade of achievement for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust with its driving approach of effective scientific research that can influence conservation decisions for the critical Dyer Island ecosystem in Gansbaai, Western Cape. Key to the success has been the support of the local community and the clients of eco-tourism businesses Marine Dynamics Shark Tours and Dyer Island Cruises who have financially supported the work. The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, a project of the Trust, has in its first year successfully saved more than 120 endangered African penguins and various other seabirds. This new development has come with increased costs to the trust and in turn so have fundraising efforts.
So it was that a special auction evening was held in aid of the penguins and to celebrate the 10th birthday of the trust. The Pik ‘n Wyn event was a delicious food and wine pairing affair combining the talents of chef Shane Sauvage of La Pentola and Creation Wines, both award winners. Sauvage has written three cookbooks and a private dinner for six was up for auction. Creation Wines recently developed the African Penguin Reserve wine with a percentage of sales going to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS). The sparkling event included live entertainment and took place at the Great White House in Gansbaai, the only place where you can eat under a whale skeleton.
A report entitled “A Decade of Achievement” detailing the Trust’s research and conservation efforts was available to all guests. The Trust’s corporate sponsor, Volkswagen SA, brought a large press group including the film team from 50│50 who spent an extra two days filming with the Trust. Entertainment included the Gansbaai Academia marimba band that played on arrival as well as a string trip from the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Artist Pete Woo from Woo Studios did caricatures of guests. The evening was made warmer by the singing of the Great White House Rainbow Choir bringing tears to some. Sales and Marketing Director of Volkswagen SA, Stefan Mecha was visiting for the first time and invited Matt Gennrich, Group Communications Manager to do the speech, “In all my years of being involved in sponsorships, I have never seen one work as well as this.” Volkswagen has been supporting the work of the Trust since 2011.
The auction event with some outstanding photographs and artwork and Chef Shane’s incredible 4 course private dinner attracted over R70 000. Volkswagen added a three month trial period of their Passat to the mix and this was in fact auctioned twice after being donated back from the original winning bidder.
Wifred Chivell said of the evening, “It was really wonderful to see the friends we have in the community who were able to support the event. The penguins do not belong to the trust or to the penguin sanctuary but to all of us and together we can better look after them. Thank you for the support.” With an estimated 18000 breeding pairs of African penguin left, a drop of over 60% in numbers from 30 years ago, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust believes that #EveryBirdCounts.