Recently over 60 people from different organisations and walks of life came together with shared interest and common goal to plant trees for the future. It all started with one passionate member of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc), Paul Cartmel, who started a small idea that spiralled out exponentially.
Paul started cycling to work to avoid the traffic resultant of an ever growing population. He decided to put aside R1/km for a year, tracking his progress on an exercise app. Soon the idea caught on and friends decided they’d join and sponsor him R1/km too. It was not too long that he had raised a couple of thousand rand, and because of his love of nature and the outdoors he wanted to give back to the environment and made a donation to the Botanical Society of South Africa with an idea to plant trees in the relatively recently cleared Cecilia Forest area of Table Mountain National Park.
BotSoc jumped at the idea and engaged SANParks as the area falls under their management. As the excitement and planning of the project progressed so further partners came on board and Paul managed to raise further funds to about R20,000. Kirstenbosch were happy to assist and shared advice on tree choices, together with SANParks establishing a list for purchase from the Kirstenbosch production nursery. SANParks teams worked hard to prepare the event and site and Reliance Compost came on board donating 10 cubics of compost and further trees.
Volunteers from SANParks, Kirstenbosch, Miss Earth South Africa, BotSoc, New Media Labs, and community members and friends joined forces for a day of dirty hands, happy faces and warm hearts. The weather was perfect, the vibe was infectious, the passion and enthusiasm alive. We hope the story of this initiative inspires collaborative action and shows that small ideas can escalate and have great impact. Over 700 indigenous trees were planted in a few hours.
Nature is resilient and shows amazing recovery, which can be sped up with a helping hand. The Park Manager of Table Mountain National Park commented that they hope to continue working to remove invasive alien pines and gums and return the area to its natural vegetation, a combination of forest and fynbos. The restoration of the area is a long term and on-going process needing lots of intervention, time and effort but we’ve contributed something and that’s very special.
This project speaks to BotSoc’s mission and the National Strategy for Plant Conservation’s targets. We need to tell the stories, share the passion and awareness and educate others about the importance of biodiversity and the conservation thereof. You too could join in on the action, become a BotSoc member and help us join forces and make a difference in our natural world.