The Hawaan Forest has been maintained by a succession of dedicated volunteers. Bill Duthie, the Conservation Officer for the then Umhlanga Town Board, together with Dr Vincent Wager, a retired plant pathologist and frog and spider expert, originally got permission to maintain the forest on behalf of WESSA. They mapped out the paths, started to label some of the trees and together with two rangers patrolled the forest on a weekly basis. Over the years Bill and a tireless band of volunteers kept alien plants from taking hold in the forest.
When Bill retired, Phoebe Carnegie took over the reins of forest management and did a sterling job for many years with little assistance until Umhlanga UIP (Urban Improvement Precinct) provided a worker to help with clearing. Jocelyn Sutherland joined Phoebe’s Thursday work party two years ago on my retirement. And so began Jocelyn initiation into Hawaan forest maintenance. From November last year, when Phoebe stood down, Jocelyn has been responsible for maintenance of the forest. Every Thursday, ably assisted by Ann Lawson, Rob Little, Musa or Bongani from UIP and various other helpers who come now and again, we walk the paths keeping them clear, label trees and remove any alien plants which may be coming up, especially in the clearings. Tongaat Hulett periodically carry-out alien eradication, supplying and funding a team of workers to do alien plant removal. This amazing team of 15 ladies, who were originally trained by WESSA in alien removal, are self-employed. They periodically spend 15 days working in the forest removing aliens. However, approximately a 50 m wide strip alongside the M4 which has been left to form a barrier against intruders and vagrants, the forest is now almost entirely alien free. Author by Jocelyn Sutherland