Fynbos Phil to speak at U3A

Phil McLean

U3A Helderberg’s September guest speaker will be Phil Mclean, known to many as Fynbos Phil, at the next U3A Helderberg talk at the Strand Town Hall, on Wednesday September 5, at 10am.

His presentation will be titled “The Aliens are Coming” or a little more seriously, “Aliens: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

Phil will be using aliens in film to explain the real invasions happening today when he will give a broad overview
of aliens, with particular reference to plants in South Africa.

He says that as with all things, there are pros and cons to alien plants so will explain these differences, using alien characters from film and television as parables for the on-the-ground species. 

Phil is an experienced and very passionate naturalist and conservationist and exercises his conservation ethic by addressing one of the biggest stressors on the natural environment, invasive alien species.

He studied botany at university, where he learned all about our majestic Cape flora, and after acquiring his Honours degree, he started a solar water heating company for several years, but gave that up to be a stay-at-home dad when his children were born.

In his words he says that once they ceased being little horrors, his life was drawn back into botany and specifically invasives after the City of Cape Town launched a citizen science platform.

He subsequently worked
for the City and later for the South African National Biodiversity Institute at Kirstenbosch.

He then undertook his Master’s degree, which he has recently completed, and is currently setting up his own institute to address invasions of all types and it will be known as the Institute for the Management of Biological Invasions (iMOBi).

The main thrust at this stage will be to compile species assessments, followed up by subsequent management plans which will include permit applications for large landowners across Southern Africa.

Phil is currently the chairman of the Friends of the Liesbeek (River) NGO as well as the acting chair for the Western Cape Region of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, the country’ss oldest conservation volunteer organisation.

The doors open at 9.30am, when tea and coffee will be available.

For more information,
contact Brodwyn on 083 604 0784.