LEPHALALE — Lephalale Local Municipality, Eskom Medupi Power Station jointly with the Local Department of Education held the Annual Arbor Day celebration at Thabo Mbeki Community Hall on 19 September 2018.
Arbor Day originated in 1872 in Nebraska (USA) while in South Africa the first National Arbor Day was celebrated in 1983 with the intention to promote the love for knowledge of trees and to encourage the planting of trees for commercial as well as non-commercial purposes.
In South Africa, the first week of September each year is declared a National Arbor week. During the course of National Arbor Week, South Africans are provided with a better knowledge of trees and how trees affect their day-to-day lives. Awareness about the dangers of forest fires is raised and emphasis is placed on the importance of the forestry industry and on trees in general. Trees are planted and landscapes are made greener.
This year (2018), under the Theme: “Forests and Sustainable Cities”, government encourages communities to:
• Protect indigenous forests.
• Plant a tree to green the environment.
• Plant indigenous tree that use less water.
• Mitigate against climate change.
• Use water conservation ideas when planting trees.
• Include fruit and trees in household gardens.
Lephalale Local Municipality, planted 1 591 trees in the past three financial years, most of which were fruit trees. This was done in line with the promotion of urban and rural greening. For 2018, the Arbor Month campaign is focusing on promoting the planting of two indigenous species which are the Shepherd and Breede River Yellow Wood trees. These trees have been identified and named trees of the year.
As part of the celebration, the Municipality hosted a competition wherein learners from various schools in the Palala North and South Circuits took part. The learners were tested based on their knowledge of trees and the environment. Prizes included a laptop, smartphones and tablets.
Acting Mayor, Cllr Louisa Shongwe gave words of encouragement to the learners as they are approaching their final matric examinations “The time to study is now, do not wait until the last day to prepare” she said. She further encouraged them to take careers in environmental studies “Our Municipality together with partners like Eskom have bursaries for all of you to further your studies. There is no excuse for any of you not to further your studies, all you have to do is to study hard and pass well,” she concluded.
The program ended at Palala Circuit where trees were planted.