WILDLANDS joined hands with its partners to celebrate National Arbor Week by planting indigenous trees at the Ferncliffe Nature Reserve in Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay and Cape Town this week. National Arbor Week serves to celebrate South Africa’s indigenous trees, raise awareness about their importance, admire their beauty and recognise their benefits. This year, the indigenous trees are the Yellowwood (Podocarpus spp) and the Sheperd’s tree (Boscia albitrunca). The Yellowwood being the common tree and the Sheperd’s tree, the rare species for 2018.
Kirsten Oliver, WILDLANDS’s Deputy Director of Restoration programmes comments, “South Africa is a water scarce country, where planting indigenous trees and removing invasive species is one way of mitigating against human-induced environmental and climate change. These activities also reduce strain on our water resources and protect our natural heritage for future generations. WILDLANDS’ vision is to create a sustainable future for all South Africans and by observing Arbor Week, we lead by example in creating sustainable livelihoods for our people and the environment.”
Shekhar Mahabeer, Nedbanks’ Manager for Workstreams and Initiatives comments, “Nedbank, is committed to initiatives such as Arbor Week and other initiatives in partnership with WILDLANDS. Our aim is to enhance the environmental ecosystems within these national programmes. In doing so, we hope that all future generations are able to benefit from a sustainable environment.”
Other partners who got their hands dirty include South32, Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), the Stellenbosch Municipality, the Stellenbosch Trail Fund (STF) and Stellenbosch University.
“Together we make a difference and create value through our environmental programs,” comments Thandazile Mnyango, Community Development Specialist, South32.
Melinda Forbay, Corporate Affairs Managet from RBCT comments, “We were so privileged to partner with WILDLANDS in this fantastic initiative.”
Lydia Van Rooyen, WILDLANDS’ Greening Your Future Manager comments, “We are passionate about the protection of our water sources and natural landscapes, especially in the iconic Eerste river. We hope to continue our excellent relationship with the Stellenbosch Municipality, partners and the public to restore more of the ecological river systems by removing alien invasive plants and replacing them with indigenous riverine vegetation.
All the trees planted throughout this week have been grown and nurtured by the WILDLANDS’ Tree-preneurs; community members who grow indigenous trees at homestead level and barter them with WILDLANDS for livelihood support items like water tanks, health and hygiene hampers and education support.
All South Africans are encouraged to take time out of their busy schedules this week to care for their environment and plant an indigenous tree. Happy Arbor Week.