AfriForum arbor month: A new, hopeful start

Deon de Jager, Johardt van Heerden, Kim Poulton, Monica Thompson, Nicole Dunckley and Werner Julies

Photo: Deon de Jager, Johardt van Heerden, Kim Poulton, Monica Thompson, Nicole Dunckley and Werner Julies.

AfriForum kicked of its annual arbor month by planting six natal figs (Ficus natalensis) at The Lucky Lucy Foundation outside Malmesbury. AfriForum will dedicate the whole of September to tree planting across the country.

According to Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager for Environmental Affairs, this project is part of an effort to ensure a future for the generations to come. “People across the country celebrate Arbor Day on 1 September, but AfriForum wants to dedicate the whole of September to trees.”

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The organisation once again rolled out a plan for arbor month this year that will be implemented across the country. Altogether, 140 AfriForum branches from across the country will endeavor to plant 2 500 trees throughout the month. 

In the uncertain times in which we find ourselves – especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown that accompanies it – it is important to know that we can celebrate the beginning of Spring and of a new beginning with this project. Planting a tree this year gives us hope for the future because we plant for the future. The tree will be a symbol of survival, because we can look back ten years from now and say: ‘We survived.’

“We want to encourage our branches and communities this year to plant trees at their homes, schools, churches, community centres, old-age homes and parks in addition to the trees that our branches will be planting. We also encourage our branches to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and plant fruit trees where possible,” De Klerk adds.

Photo: Monica Thompson and Johardt van Heerden.

“By planting indigenous trees, we are not only conserving the environment, but also shows that we have hope for the future. This is a new season for South Africa. Just as indigenous trees play an important role in terms of the country’s welfare, they also symbolise the country’s people. To make South Africa work, we have to each do our part. All trees work together, and this makes the ecosystem successful. We will live here and continue to develop this country so that everyone can prosper,” De Klerk says.    

The focus is on two trees this year: one a common tree, the other a scarce tree. The common tree is the Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis); the scarce tree the well-known baobab (Adansonia digitata).

“AfriForum encourages communities across the country to participate in arbor month, help distribute the programme and change the future,” De Klerk concludes. SMS the name of your town to 45354 (R1) to join AfriForum.

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