Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Volunteering with Greenpop - Digging, greening and fun with kids

Nicholas Wiid, green24's junior writer and researcher, recently embarked on a day of tree-planting and fun with Cape Town’s Greenpop crew. Here is a brief rundown of his eco-friendly escapades.

Greenpop is a Cape Town based organisation that aims to green under-greened areas. They do this mainly by planting trees in schools and local community gardens. Since they began in 2010, they have planted over 3000 indigenous trees and seasonal fruit trees at various locations around the Western Cape. They also provide team building days for groups and companies.

Planting the greens with little beans
The plant day began with a venture out to the Sibongumusa ECD Centre, a crèche for local children, located in the Kayamandi farming community, among the winelands of Stellenbosch. Our mission: to plant 20 trees. But, before we could start planting, we had to fill the pre-dug, oversized holes, and brief the kids and community in English, Xhosa and Afrikaans about why trees are so important.

With this out of the way it was time to get dirty and the kids got involved by collecting rocks to place around each tree. The holes were lined with compost, organic fertiliser and soil and our trees’ roots were loosened and buried in the rocky earth. After a stake was sunk and a small tie was added to keep each tree upright, a sprinkling of mulch and some water sealed the leafy deal. The beds of the trees we had prepped for awakening were made, and so was my week.

Lessons learnt
Planting trees with Greenpop was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in ages, and probably the most fun I have ever had with a spade. Teaching those energetic kids the importance of trees for food, shade and fresh air, and inspiring the community members to take ownership of their newly greened school was a wonderful opportunity that I would certainly repeat more than once.

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