As most Capetonians have no doubt noticed, the signs of spring are everywhere. To celebrate, City Parks is hosting Arbour Month this September, during which the importance of trees is raised and awareness about a green, healthy environment is encouraged.
The City of Cape Town has held a number of events to mark Arbour Month, during which it plans to plant 6 000 trees.
Over the next three years, City Parks plans to plant in the region of 20 000 trees across Cape Town in order to promote its Greening Strategy.
This strategy focuses on sustainability, relevance and responsiveness, in order to provide a greener environment, add aesthetic value to the urban landscape, and address the effects of global warming.
The theme for this year's Arbour Month is "Our Forest – Our Future", and the City is encouraging communities to work together and take ownership of the trees that are being planted.
"The theme also encompasses issues concerning a healthy environment and its benefits to people’s livelihoods – such as clean air and water, community health, ecosystem health and economic health,” says Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada.
The City has also called on private sector and non-governmental organisations to work with City Parks in upholding the theme.
"I'd like to encourage the private sector and local NGOs to get into the spirit of Arbor Month and play their part in greening Cape Town. We want to urge everyone who can do so to plant a tree or shrub in their garden to help raise awareness about the importance of appreciating the natural world," she said.
The events which have already been held were "very successful", she added. These events include:
- On 3 September, Cllr Gqada handed over 10 trees to each City Councillor at the Durbanville Rose Garden for planting in an area of their choice, in order to beautify their wards and promote greening across Cape Town.
- A tree was also be handed over to every employee in the City's Community Services Directorate (comprising the Parks; Library and Information Services; and Sport, Recreation and Amenities Departments), and all of the members of the Community Services Portfolio Committee. These 3 900 trees will be planted in a public place of their choice.
- City Parks hosted an exhibition on the Concourse Level of the Cape Town Civic Centre, during which City employees were encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by making personal pledges.
- Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille joined Cllr Gada at an Arbour Month celebration at the Loskop Dam Park in Eerste River on 7 September 2012, during which 25 trees were planted in the park.
Other events planned during September include:
- A Bonsai exhibition focusing on indigenous bonsai will be held in the Company’s Garden from 15–17 September 2012, hosted by City Parks in partnership with the Western Cape Bonsai Fraternity.
- The City is part of the Environment Online (ENO) network, a global virtual school and network programme involving sharing the results of studies on environmental issues. ENO activities will take place at schools in Tafelsig, Woodlands, Athlone and Lwandle, amongst others. The City also aims to assist ENO in reaching its goal of planting 100 million trees across the world by 2017.