Dr. Ion Williams the founder/owner of Vogelgat Nature reserve has been visionary in his approach to conservation issues in the Hermanus area, receiving his doctorate in science after extensive research into the Leucodendron family. Dr. Williams was instrumental in laying out the paths in Fernkloof Nature reserve and the cliff paths. He also established the Hermanus yacht club and the Old Harbour Museum. Dr. Williams received the 1984 Cape Times Centenary Medal for his outstanding achievements in the preservation of the natural environment. In 1997 Dr. Williams received the Freedom of Greater Hermanus in recognition of his loyal and distinguished services rendered to the community of Greater Hermanus.
Even though Vogelgat Nature Reserve is a private reserve, reserved for the benefit of its members only, every year the reserve invites students that have completed their theory in nature conservation to complete their in-year service training.
The reserve has been used extensively for local and international botanical research. Geological, vertebrate and invertebrate research has also taken place on the reserve.
The following projects and papers have been completed in Vogelgat:
1986 David Raubenheimer Report on the condition of Existing Fences at Vogelgat Nature Reserve. BSc (Hons) UCT.
1987 Dr Ian McDonald: The Survey of Alien Biota in Southern African Nature Reserves.
1988 T.I. Abraham An Investigation into Forest Margin Dynamics and the role Fire.
1988 Guy Musson The Mammals of Vogelgat and Maanschynkop Nature Reserves.
1989 A. De Kock A Survey of Argentine Ant, Iriomyrmex humilis, (Mayr) (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) in South African Fynbos.
1990 R Whittle-Herbert Deformation Structures in the Table Mountain Group centred on Vogelgat Nature Reserve.
1991 Jill Silsley Dragonflies in Vogelgat Nature Reserve.
1992 Cheryl De Lange Vegetation Survey of Vogelgat Nature Reserve for her MSc Thesis.
1996 N. Louw A Comparative Study of the reproduction, Autecology & Genetic of Brachysiphon rupestris, B.acutus and some other species of the Penaeaceae. For PhD.
The community’s involvement in the reserve speaks clearly of the tremendous efforts made in clearing the majority of all the alien plant species, making the reserve almost alien-free.
Recently the initiative from Vogelgat nature reserve in the formalisation of a co-operative between the neighbouring Fernkloof and Maanschynkop reserves is seen as the commitment to the extension of conservation.
Approximately 860 people have visited the reserve in one month alone (December 1997) and about 3 500 people enjoy the reserve annually.
The reserve is a declared South African Natural heritage site. Site No. 5 one of the earliest.