The Plankenbrug Tree-A-Thon to plant 990 trees took place on Friday, 10th of April 2015 where the executive mayor of Stellenbosch and Councillor Pietman Retief welcomed the tree planting volunteers and joined in planting trees alongside the river’s banks.
Mayor Sidego described the trees as ‘statues of hope’ to not only green the environment and enhance nature in this industrial area but also add to the dignified living objectives of the municipality’s vision and work programme for Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch Municipality has adopted a vision to be the Innovation Capital of South Africa and are working through its service delivery programmes such as this to achieve this.
The day was hosted by Stellenbosch Municipality’s Million Trees project, Wildlands and Leaf a Legacy. Volunteers from the following organisations and companies attended to plant the trees - Distell, REMGRO, SPIER, Reliance, PSG, Chill Beverages/Urban Zest , Engel & Völkers, GreenPop, Matthew Koehorst , EcoMaties , UNASA , DAFF (Department Agriculture Forestry Fisheries) annd Wildlands Team.
Both the Papegaaiberg Nature Reserve and the Plankenbrug River and its tributaries perform an important function as part of an integrated group of ecosystems that determine the health of the entire catchment and is a core conservation area of the biosphere reserve. It is for this reason that this area has been chosen by Wildlands to focus the efforts of its Greening Your Future team where twenty individuals from the local Kayamandi community, employed through the DEA NRM Land User Incentive Scheme II programme, have been tasked with restoring the area back to its original state.
Lydia Willems, Manager of Wildlands also thanked the Million Trees Project anchor team and volunteers for the 990 trees that were planted and for the weather prospects in April to bring rain for a good survival rate for the trees. ‘On behalf of our “Greening Your Future” National Resource Management (NRM LUI2) Land Use Incentive Project, a HUGE thank you!’ she noted.
Director of Partnerships, Marketing & Sustainability at Wildlands, Louise Duys said, “It is important to remember that this all started with the million trees vision of the Executive Mayor Conrad Sidego,” said Duys. “He has also been a consistent contributor to the cause, not afraid to get his hands dirty and enthusiastic about helping Wildlands build a sustainable model for these areas.” Wildlands is primarily a restoration management project and do not have the means to care intensively for the trees planted into the restoration projects such as the Plankenbrug River, but will try its best to water and mulch and provide a good start for these little “green statues of hope” as Wildlands move onto the next stretch of the Plankenbrug River.
“This is a repeat performance of last year’s 1000 tree planting exercise in Klapmuts, Let us set a 50,000 goal for the next tree-a-thon,” said the passionate Executive Mayor Conrad Sidego. “This can be the next, achievable, step in reaching our one million tree goal. We can gain momentum by tackling this task in increments like this. With an army like we have to here today, 50,000 trees is possible! This movement must move from GREAT to REMARKABLE as a result of its cumulative impact. This Million Tree movement must impact the community members in Stellenbosch. Our people do not deserve to live in an undignified manner. Thank you to Wildlands and all the corporates who have gathered here today to play their part as a corporate citizen. Let us plant 1000 green statues of hope today.”
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