John Wesson

"God made us guardians of the earth.  This planet is our heritage as well as our legacy.  Let’s keep it in peace, fill it with love, honour it with service.  Let’s preserve it." - Paulo VC Costa, President Rotary International 1990-1991

John is a Horticulturist \ Landscape Designer \ Environmental consultant by profession.  He studied at Pretoria Technikon (ND Horticulture) and RSA Technikon (ND Parks and Recreation Management) and holds a number of other certificates as well.  He is a Fellow of Photographic Society of SA and is a wildlife photographer and artist.

John is also the Chairman of a number of Bird Clubs including Tzaneen, Goldfields and now Harties over a period of 35 yrs.  John was involved with and chairman of the Goldfields Wildlife Society in Welkom in the 70’s and early 80’s.  He was also the head of Parks, Recreation and Conservation at a local authority in OFS for about 20 yrs.  He is an Honorary Conservation officer with OFS Conservation for 20 yrs and was a registered Specialist guide with SATOUR for Wildlife, Photographic and birding safaris.

John has been involved in the Conservancy movement since the late 70’s.  He established and was first Chairman the Virginia Urban Conservancy in the OFS in 1994.  He is presently the Regional \ Conservation Manager for the Northern Areas Region (Gauteng, NW, Limpopo, Mpumulanga) of the Wildlife & Environment Society of SA.

John is the current Chairman of the National Association of Conservancies \ Stewardship of SA as well as NW Conservancy Association and Peglerae Conservancy


John Wesson current Chairman of NACSSA


Jean Lindsay




“Destroying species is like tearing pages out of a book, written in a language humans hardly know how to read, about the place where they live." - Holmus Rolson 111, written in 1932

On 25 June 2009 Jean Lindsay received a Kudu award from the South African National Parks (SAN Parks) for her contribution to Community Conservation in the Individual Category.  The Kudu Awards are the annual conservation awards presented by SAN Parks to their staff and officials and in four categories awards are presented to members of the public.

My nomination was submitted by the National Association of Conservancies of South Africa (NACSA) for more than 15 years of contribution to community conservation as a volunteer. As a city resident I have for many years been concerned about the loss of biodiversity, and the effects of pollution on our water, rivers, and air in our urban areas. As a result I have been promoting urban conservancies in an attempt to involve communities in conservation. A conservancy is the voluntary, co-operative environmental management of an area by its owners, communities and user groups, and here in KwaZulu-Natal is registered with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. A conservancy is a community based organization.

Urban conservancies were started by Everton Conservancy here in Durban in 1991. While we do not have the ‘big five’ in our cities, we are striving to preserve the ‘tiny ten’ – such as birds, butterflies, snakes, frogs, lizards ; and promoting our gardens as ecological corridors. There are more than 40 conservancies in eThekwini and they can also be rural, marine, industrial and educational institutions. The Mariannhill landfill conservancy is the only landfill conservancy in the world.

Conservancies can be used as a tool to involve the community in conservation with the resultant education and empowerment benefits


Ms Wanda Mkhutshulwa, Head of Communications, SAN Parks with Jean Lindsey



Ivan Parkes

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed” - Mahatma Gandhi

In 2003 Ivan created the Gauteng Conservancy and Stewardship Association which would in the space of a few years draw together hundreds of people across South Africa who were fighting a lonely battle to conserve and protect the environment where they lived.  

In 2003 Parkes initially invited half a dozen members of Gauteng conservancies to discuss a new concept.  It took off immediately and within a few months about 45 conservancies which had been operating in isolation were contacted and fired up with the idea.  Within eight months NACSSA was formed at a national conference arranged by the GCSA.  It drew 170 delegates from all nine provinces.  It was clear that this concept filled a great need, connecting the "lone rangers" who had been working with conservation issues on their own for many years.

Ivan is extremely passionate about the environment and conservation.  It clearly shows in every project he takes on.  His tenacity to elevate conservation of the environment to greater heights has made him an inspiration to others.

Ivan Parkes has been the chairperson of the Thorntree Conservancy in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, for many years.   He also serves as chairperson of the GCSA, liaising with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, and Rural Development (GDARD) and a variety of conservation and environment bodies.  He is the GCSA's representative on NACSSA.

Ivan writes articles for newspapers and produces the conservancies newsletter.  He handles the registration of conservancies.  This involves checking the constitution, management plan, species list, area map and proof of public participation.  He coordinates workshops and conferences and exhibitions.  He produces, prints and disseminates hundreds of booklets in English, Afrikaans Zulu and seSotho on all aspects of conservation.



Ivan Parkes on a walkabout in Thorntree Conservancy 2013


Trafford Pettersen





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