We have always taken incredible joy in being able to showcase the ecosystems that we are privileged to call home, and in doing so, Bionerds will hopefully inspire a more symbiotic relationship between the Public, Landowners, and our natural environment.
Bionerds was born on a road trip in December 2016 after months of pondering the question of "How can we expose more people, across the world, to the wonderful biodiversity that we have experienced on our travels - and during our work in South Africa?" We took to Social Media, set ourselves a challenge of one post every day for a year - and the response from the public was overwhelming! This lead to queries about biodiversity surveys and management interventions - which helped us to develop Bionerds into a service provider that work with Landowners, NGO's and Organizations, recognizing the importance of our environment, accepting our ecological responsibility and leaving a healthier Living Landscape as our legacy.
Working together, we identify the most pressing conservation needs and assist with Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management, Research Projects and Environmental Education, as well as Professional in-field Skills Development.
Our Family is as diverse as the Living Landscapes we live and work in - we spend our working hours implementing projects and assisting landowners and organization where possible - and our spare time looking for the small and elusive species we have not yet seen across our country - always eyes to the sky looking at the birds, torches lighting up the cracks in rocks to find lizards, geckos and snakes - or nose to ground to find spiders and plants. There is so much to learn and we make the most of every moment!
Keir Lynch completed his National Diploma in Nature Conservation at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Saasveld). Work experience includes time at the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, Phinda Private Resource Reserve, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Shamwari Game Reserve. In 2009, he returned to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve where he served as the Assistant Wildlife Manager responsible for natural resource management interventions, ecological monitoring and species-specific conservation projects. These included monitoring of the Leopard, Cheetah, Lion, White Rhinoceros, Buffalo and Elephant populations on the reserve, as well as research on the Critically Endangered Riverine Rabbit. Keir also developed a habitat suitability model for the reintroduction of Black Rhinoceros on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. During this time Keir completed his BTech in Nature Conservation (Cum Laude) with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
In 2012 Keir moved from the private sector and joined CapeNature (Western Cape Nature Conservation Board). He was responsible for the implementation of the National and Provincial Protected Area Expansion Strategies for the Overberg. Working within the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme, he was responsible for the proclamation of Contract Nature Reserves, developing and implementing management plans for these areas and performing ecological assessments on properties throughout his area of operation. Most importantly, his function included the development and realisation of landscape-scale conservation plans with numerous stakeholders, especially securing the prioritised climate corridors developed in securing montane environments across the lowlands to the coastline, across Critically Endangered ecosystems and rivers, watercourses and wetlands.
Following a successful tenure with CapeNature, Keir moved to the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust as the Project Manager for the WWF-SA Nedbank Green Trust Watercourse Restoration Project. The restoration project has focused on 1) management interventions to halt and reverse habitat degradation in watercourses; 2) to increase landowner awareness of the biodiversity of which they are custodians and 3) to see the commitment of land through Conservation Easements into conservation land use in perpetuity.
Keir has also completed a SASS 5 Aquatic Biomonitoring course with the Freshwater Research Centre and the Freshwater Consulting Group. Aquatic invertebrate monitoring and determination of river health led to the discovery of the Critically Endangered Pseudobarbus sp. “burchelli Heuningnes”.
Keir has undertaken his MSc with the University of Cape Town and the Freshwater Research Centre to determine the distribution of non-native and native freshwater fishes in the Heuningnes River System, to quantify the threats faced by native species and to develop and implement conservation measures to ensure their persistence. Keir has continued his work with CapeNature and has secured a research permit to establish the distribution of freshwater fishes through the Overberg. Keir currently serves as the chairperson of the Overberg Crane Group, vice-chairperson of Conservation at Work and Landscape Conservation theme leader for the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative.
Alouise Lynch spent her childhood weekends exploring nature reserves with her parents, cultivating a love for all things wild and wonderful.
She completed her Nature Guiding courses in 2003 and started her guiding career on a small wildlife reserve in the Western Cape. She was fortunate enough to get to know the Succulent Karoo through the eyes of some of the local "bossiedokters" (medicinal plant "shamans") of the Klein Karoo. This knowledge fueled her passion for the smaller things in nature which lead to her taking up a guiding position on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in 2005. Her intimate knowledge of the botanicals on the reserve, the medicinal uses, and folklore behind the uses of plants by the San people and the Khoi pastoralists opened an otherwise arid and desolate environment to guests from all over the world. She went on to guide for the Mantis Collection for 5 years, after which she left guiding to take on the Wildlife Coordinator role at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in 2009. Her passion for people inadvertently landed her a position in Human Resources in the Mantis Collection, where she managed a staff component of over 150 people.
In 2012 the Lynches moved to Hermanus, and Alouise exchanged the scenic Karoo for the wide open coastline of the Overstrand, where she took up the position as the Operations Manager of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. Marine conservation was a new challenge and the highlight of her 3-year tenure with the DICT was her involvement in setting up the first Seabird Rehabilitation facility, the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, in the Overstrand.
In 2015 she joined Keir in moving to Napier where she took to raising and schooling their young son, Cian, full-time. Homeschooling was the best choice ever for this on-the-go family - it affords them the opportunity to head to the field at the drop of a hat, incorporating learning into their ecological activities.
Alouise is also developing the Socio-economic arm of Bionerds to include a strong Environmental Awareness aspect, alongside Environmental Skills Development for in-field professionals. She also serves as Secretary on the Overberg Crane Groups Committee, and runs their Social Media and Blogging - as well as volunteering her time on Social-Media for the Agulhas Plain Birding Project. To keep her creative juices flowing Alouise takes on Graphic Design Projects when she has time to spare.