Volunteers were offered the opportunity to learn how to plant trees and contribute to the sustainability of their own environment with RU Green Society & Loose Change Events. Our reporter, Shannon Frost, joined the event.
Grahamstown volunteers were invited to help plant trees along the National Settlers Monument walk last weekend, 13 September. With support and guidance from RU Green Society and Loose Change Events,15 volunteers partnered up to shovel and plant the succulent plant, Spekboom, along the path.
The morning began with a briefing from RU Green about the wild area and instructions as to how volunteers should plant each Spekboom. Loose Change Events provided shovels and picks for groups to use when planting in rocky areas. Volunteer, Maxine Thompson, planted Spekboom along the fence and added some personality to the experience by naming each plant as she went along.
RU Green Society is a non-profit student organisation aiming to guide and encourage students to tackle environmental issues of sustainability and climate change. Chairperson of RU Green, Yondela Norman, explained why he specifically chose the trail up to Monument: “The reason why we suggest people plant along the fence here is because Spekboom, being a succulent, is resistant to fire so it would make a very good fire break”. He continued by adding that he plans to add to the scenic value of the area for everyone to enjoy in future years.
Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) Officer, Nikki Kohly, joined the cause by donating plants from her garden for the volunteer day, “I’m simply supporting Yondela. I happen to grow a hell of a lot of Spekboom at home so every year I donate to the green fun run”. Kohly handed out rubbish bags for volunteers to fill with any trash scattered amongst the veld, adding another incentive to the morning.
Co-founder and Humanitarian Director of Loose Change Events, Andrew Lawrie, explained why he wanted Loose Change to get involved “It’s because we are all about this kind of stuff…we have been doing a lot for people and animals but not too much yet for the environment itself.”
The tree planting day is the first event RU Green and Loose Change have collaborated but Norman is confident that collaboration in the future is a possibility, “As far as RU Green is concerned I don’t see why it would be the last time”.