June 2007 Owl Award to local bird guide
On Friday, the 1st of June, David Letsoalo, local Magoebaskloof, Limpopo Guide was awarded the Eagle Award by Gerhard Verdoorn, Executive Director of BirdLife South Africa at a gala event. David´s certificate stated that "Birdlife South Africa´s mission is to promote the enjoyment, conservation, study and understanding of wild birds and their habitats. Increasingly, the context of BirdLife SA is about taking action for birds through people at all levels of South African society."
Gerhard Verdoorn introduced David as being the name on everyone´s lips when they talk about exceptional bird guiding in South Africa. He stressed the importance of local guides and that David is a success-story that other guides should model themselves on. He thanked David for his professionalism and his contribution to birding and conservation in South Africa. David´s nomination was put forward by Gerhard Verdoorn and joined other praise-worthy individuals such as Geoff Lockwood and organisations such as the Oppenheimer institute.
David was kept in the dark about the award and was reluctantly persuaded to wear a jacket and tie for this "networking opportunity" as we had described it. Even when he saw all the Owl and Eagle Awards laid out on the table, he did not realise the reason he was at the event. He enjoyed the evening until Gerhard Verdoorn mentioned the name "David Letsoalo" and then started ´perspiring´. Afterwards, in between the congratulatory calls, he realised the full extent of this conspiracy of silence and allowed the significance of the award to sink in.
Travelling back to Magoebaskloof, David made it a priority to call around and thank some of the key people involved in his success because he acknowledged that this award was for all the people who have supported him along the way. He intends to host a small event at a local hotel to say thank you to some of these people and to show off his Eagle award. His message to other local guides is to never be discouraged by the hard times but to always make the most of every opportunity. He would like to thank everyone who has played a part in his success and those who have encouraged him, given him opportunities for advancement and loyally supported him. To all these friends, birders, tour operators, conservationists and Magoebaskloof residents, a huge THANK YOU.
Lisa Martus and David Letsoalo
June 2006 GLBR Guide Book gets Editors Choice
In the June/July edition of Africa Birds & Birding the Greater Limpopo Birding Route Guide Booklet gets the Editors ´thumbs-up´. ´ Thoroughly researched by people who live and bird in the area, the booklet includes all the need-to-know information for birding in and around the Soutpansberg, Limpopo Valley, Magoebaskloof and Polokwane areas.´ GLBR