Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) Programme

CREW, the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers, is a programme that involves volunteers from the public in the monitoring and conservation of South Africa's threatened plants.  The programme is a partnership between the SANBI, Botanical Society of South Africa and the KZN Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.


What we do

CREW aims to capacitate a network of volunteers from a range of socio-economic backgrounds to monitor and conserve South Africa's threatened plant species. The programme links volunteers with their local conservation agencies and particularly with local land stewardship initiatives to ensure the conservation of key sites for threatened plant species.

Reason for our programme

South Africa has a significant number of the world's plant species and is the only country that has its own plant kingdom and three of the worlds Biodiversity Hotspots. Of the more than 20 000 plant species in South Africa, 13% are threatened with extinction and a further 11% are considered of conservation concern because they are near threatened, data deficient or rare endemics. This means that 1 in 4 of South Africa's plants are of conservation concern.

CREW Volunteers

For most of these species there is no recent information about how the populations are doing in the wild. As a country we urgently need to keep track of our plants so that we know how to conserve the unique diversity that we have. CREW volunteers contribute significantly by each focusing on a small area of the country and monitoring the plant species of conservation concern of that area.

CREW data is also used during the EIA process to influence development decisions. This data also assists in fine scale conservation plans that help municipalities determine which areas should be allocated to conservation in their integrated and spatial development frameworks.

What we have achieved

Since the inception of the CREW programme in 2003 we have discovered 24 new species, rediscovered 14 species and collected data on 1030 species of conservation concern.

How you can become involved


CREW Operations Manual
How to complete CREW forms

CREW News (Nov 2005)
CREW News (Nov 2006)
CREW News (March 2007)

CREW News (Dec 2007)

CREW News (Feb 2009)
CREW News (March 2010)
CREW News (April 2011)
CREW News (April 2012)

Please note the CREW News was not published in 2008 due to 2 issues in 2007.  Issue 2009 illustrates CREW achivements for 2008.


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Last updated on 12 June 2014
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