Edith Stephens Wetland Park (Cape Flats Nature)
Who was Edith Stephens?
Edith Stephens was a botanist who worked at the University of Cape Town. She studied simple plants like ferns, as well as fungi (e.g. mushrooms) and algae. As long ago as the 1940s she noticed that wetlands on the Cape Flats were being destroyed and that plants and animals living in these wetlands were becoming threatened.
After she retired, Edith Stephens raised money to buy 3.7 hectares of land with a seasonal wetland in Philippi. She gave the land to Kirstenbosch to look after. A very rare, tiny, ancient fern-like plant called Isoetes capensis grows in this wetland, so it became known as Isoetes Vlei (say: I-so-ee-tease).
Edith Stephens wasn’t a wealthy person but she cared about nature and people. She wanted to make sure that this seasonal wetland survived and that future generations would be able to enjoy and study the plants and animals living there.
The City of Cape Town and its partners decided to honour Edith Stephens by naming the new Park after her.