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Walking 1200 kilometres for conservation

Brenda Gilbert, an estate agent at Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Fourways office, is passionate about conservation. So passionate, in fact, that by the end of October this year, she would have walked 1 200 kilometres to raise funds for a charity close to her heart, the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative.


 
“The Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative entails educating landowners and farmers on the creation of corridors, which are strips of land connecting protected areas. These corridors enable animal migration and ensure key ecological processes, such as pollination and seed disposal, across different types of habitats are maintained. They therefore enhance the long-term survival of species,” explains Brenda.
 
The Eden to Addo walk is an annual event where 24 individuals hike for 400 kilometres over a period of 18 days in the Eastern Cape. This year the walk begins on 4 October in Kranshoek in Knysna and will go through the Garden Route National Park, the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve and the Addo Elephant National Park. The hiking trail is the toughest and longest in South Africa and involves strenuous, cross-country endurance walking over seven mountain ranges.
 
“This is the third time I have done this walk since it was first undertaken in 2007,” enthuses Brenda. “During my first Eden to Addo hike in 2008 I had the idea that I would ask my friends and family to sponsor me for the rest of the walk so that I could give something back to the habitat that was providing such an eye-opening, exhilarating experience for me. That year I raised R18,000, all of which went to the  Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative. This year the funds I raise through my PGP network will be split between Eden to Addo and PGP’s Heart of Gold Trust.”
 
Brenda’s conservation focus echoes that of her employer, PGP, who has sponsored R10,000 towards Brenda’s walk. The real estate agency is also a founding partner of the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN), which works with companies to develop a collective accountability for biodiversity management and conservation. “Residential real estate companies like PGP can play a significant role in the planning, design and construction of properties to maximise biodiversity,” believes Jason Shaw, manager of PGP Fourways office.
 
PGP is also working on the development of a biodiversity guide for homeowners with the NBBN and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. This practical guide will focus on how property owners can enhance biodiversity on their properties and become more environmentally responsible.
 
“PGP believes in employing dedicated individuals like Brenda who share our vision of environmental commitment. Brenda has been a Dainfern agent for 20 years now, nine of which have been spent at PGP. Since her very first walk in 2008, PGP has been behind her every step of the way,” maintains Shaw.
 
This year Brenda is determined to raise even more money for this worthy cause. “In 2014 we will follow the path elephants used to take when these magnificent animals roamed freely, so it is very symbolic of the work which Eden to Addo is doing,” says Brenda.
 
Brenda has been training hard for the 400-kilometre hike, walking regularly and working out with a personal trainer to prepare her body for the physical challenge that awaits her. Brenda is adamant, however, that it is the head and the heart that make all the difference, “You have to be in the right head space to complete a walk of this distance,” she maintains. “Determination is key. I find that keeping the cause in mind definitely helps on those tough days. I wish to thank PGP for all their wholehearted support, not only in terms of sponsorship, but for their encouragement and for believing in me.”
 
If you would like to sponsor Brenda Gilbert on her 400-kilometre walk, and donate funds to the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative and PGP’s Heart of Gold Trust, please contact her on brenda.gilbert@pamgolding.co.za.


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