Wildlands, a leading environmental non-profit organisation based in Hilton KwaZulu-Natal, are set to kick off Arbor week with several tree-a-thon events nationwide from 1st – 7th of September; with a planting goal of 100 000 trees.
The Wildlands’ ‘Trees for Life’ project was started in 2004 in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where community members were encouraged to plant indigenous trees at homestead level as a way to ‘grow’ themselves out of poverty. The project expanded at a rate Wildlands could have never anticipated.
The trees they, fondly referred to as Tree-preneurs, grow have a value after reaching a certain height; which they then barter with Wildlands for livelihood support items such as water tanks, bicycles, building materials, health and wellness hampers or groceries.
Each of the 100 000 trees during this coming week were grown and nurtured by Tree-preneurs, each tree has a story linked to it - which makes these trees extraordinary.
Tree-a-thon events are being hosted by Wildlands in Durban, Richards Bay, Pietermaritzburg, Magaliesburg, Acornhoek and the Western-Cape, with support from their local partners and donors.
“The Durban planting event was a big success,” said Wildlands’ Deputy Director of Fundraising and Reporting Nikara Mahadeo. “It enabled our donors and funders to gain an insight into what they are supporting and an opportunity to partake in the greater arbor week events, whilst knowing that each tree that has been planted has had a positive impact not only on the environment but the life of the Tree-preneur who nurtured it.”
The Durban tree-a-thon, held on 1st September, was attended by eThekwini Municipality, Tongaat Hulett, Unilever, Jonsson, Futurelife Foundation and Thompsons Africa, and around 5200 indigenous trees were planted in Cornubia, north of Durban.
Similarly, a Wildlands’ planting event was held in Alton, Richards Bay, with partners South32, Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) and uMhlathuze Municipality who assisted in the planting of another 5000 trees.
A further 4000 trees will be planted in Magaliesburg, Gauteng, Pietermaritzburg, Acornhoek and the Western-Cape over the next few days with the assistance of partners such as Wild Route, PWC, Nedbank, PSG, Comrades Marathon Association, Hulamin, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, Agrimark, Distell, Department of Environmental Affairs, Spier, Stellenbosch Municipality and the Stellenbosch River Collaborative.
A further 86 000 trees have been distributed to our network of just under 2500 schools, through the Department of Education, and will be planted throughout Arbor month to further build on our greening efforts.
“We are always honoured to be joined by our corporate donors and partners at our tree planting events as they never think twice about getting their hands dirty. They share our organisations’ passion for sustainability and our environment,” comments Wildlands’ Deputy Director of Marketing, Lauren van Nijkerk.