Conservation was close to Dalene’s heart. It started off with historic buildings which later turned into the conservation of the Knysna Forest.
She formed part of Dr Anton Rupert’s restoration team in Graaff-Reinet and was involved with the restoration of Stretch’s Court. In Uniondale she put together a restoration team to restore the old water mill and a fort dating back from the Boer War for future generations.
Dalene’s special relationship with the Knysna Forest started in 1978 when she first visited the forest. She felt strongly about the conservation of the Forest.
Dalene respected the Forest and always said one should never enter the forest with a negative attitude. She always asked the Forest’s permission before doing research or taking visitors to the forest.
In 1986, Dalene became the first recipient of the Southern African Institute of Forestry’s Award outside the Department of Forestry. She was also the first woman to receive this accolade. She received this award for her work on the Knysna Forest, the early woodcutters’ communities and the development of the timber industry in Knysna.
In 2004, the Department of Forestry bestowed this honour on her for a second time to acknowledge her exceptional services to forestry in Southern Africa.