Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) Programme

The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) is a citizen science programme, supported by the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc). CREW involves the participation of people from different socio-economic backgrounds to survey and monitor plants of conservation concern in areas known to house threatened plants. CREW has 3 nodes - Cape Floristic Region, Summer Rainfall region and the Eastern Cape that provides support to the citizen scientist groups by providing resources and identification courses and training as well as linking  the groups to their local conservation agencies.  Threatened plant data collected by the citizen science groups is analysed by the Red List <link to TSP page> scientists to assess the rate of extinction of South Africa’s plants.  The Red List dictates the status of our plant diversity and is used to implement policy and land-use planning.  

How does CREW operate?

  • CREW works with groups of volunteers who are capacitated to look for threatened plants in the field, with the aid of field identification sheets.
  • Volunteers systematically survey sites with natural vegetation, and in the process identify the properties with natural vegetation in the best condition and with the highest concentration of endemic species.
  • Data collected by CREW volunteers is used to update information of threatened plants for Red Listing and land-use planning.
  • CREW provides general plant identification courses as well as field training.
  • CREW groups work closely with local land use decision-makers, landowners and government conservation extension staff to create awareness of the important plant species found on their land and are able to catalyse deals to conserve area.

What we have achieved?

Plants in Peril coverTo mark CREW's 10th anniversary, the Botanical Society's centenary as well as the strong partnership between SANBI and BotSoc, CREW published the Plants in Peril coffee table book.  

The book profiles 100 critically endangered plants – one for every year of BotSoc’s centenary – and aims to highlight the factors threatening their survival and raise awareness of the actions required for their conservation.

Also, BotSoc partnered with Woolworths to create unique shopping bags that showcase threatened species.

Woolies BotSoc CREW shopping bags

How can you 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)

CREW News (April 2013)

CREW News (April 2014)

CREW News (April 2015)

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

Last updated on 06 June 2017
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