Hessequa Municipality is making an unprecedented statement in terms of its commitment to care for the environment. September is Arbor Month and the Hessequa community is showing their support in a big way. By encouraging community involvement in making Hessequa 110% green, the municipality has received a substantial donation of just under 3 000 indigenous trees. This generous contribution was the brainchild of Dr. Gerrit Mars from Stilbaai whose initiative will greatly impact the Hessequa environment and communities.
Dr. Mars mentioned that he was inspired by Professor John Willemse. “Professor Willemse is an advocate for making Hessequa Green and encourage community involvement. By getting involved in projects that promote the removal of alien trees and encouraging job creation, we all play our part in creating a green environment for generations to come.”
The donated trees which consist of 40 Ekebergia capensis (Essenhout) and 2 700 Olea Europaea sp. Africana (Olienhout) were acquired from Water Affairs & Forestry in Wolseley.
Hessequa Municipality acted as co-ordinator for the project by arranging transport for the secured trees from Wolseley to Stilbaai and forming partnership agreements with local community members and private sectors for the planting and caring of the trees.
The following community members and private sectors have taken hands with the municipality in storing, planting or caring of the trees:
- Dr. Gerrit Mars – privately storing and caring of 400 trees
- Jongensfontein Residents Association – 400 trees
- Gustaf Radloff – privately storing of 200 trees
- Boy van Rensburg, Albertinia Chamber of Commerce – 200 trees
- Nedbank Bank Manage Stilbaai
- Stilbaai Chamber of Commerce
- Stilbaai Interests Forum.
The municipality aims to provide each institution with the necessary equipment, compost and bone meal as well as instructions for planting and caring for the trees. The municipal water treatment’s dry sediment will be made available for compost purposes at the seven identified public areas.
Community involvement forms part of Hessequa’s #100000TreeCampaign that was established in 2015. The campaign was formed after an initial project, in association with Working for the Coast, where 3 000 trees were planted within three months. The 100 000 Trees Campaign is an environmentally friendly initiative with the goal of creating a sense of belonging and wellbeing for all citizens in our area. The municipality therefore encourages community involvement. Through this campaign the municipality also aims to facilitate the restoration of ecosystems which underwrite the health and livelihood of its communities.
Community participation and commitment helped Hessequa achieve The National Arbor City Award and first place in the Western Cape Greenest Municipality Competition in 2015.
Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.
Hessequa’s vision is to be a caring municipality where everyone reaps the fruit of cost effective and innovative service delivery, stimulated economic growth and sustainable use of natural resources.
The Municipality is grateful and appreciates our partners who share our vision in creating a greener future. Our goal is to plant 100 000 indigenous and/or fruit trees of which we have 6 042 registered planted trees in the region. It’s a large number, but it’s possible with the assistance of the community. Every tree brings us closer to protecting and conserving indigenous vegetation in the Hessequa region for future generations. The municipality therefore encourages our citizens living in and around Hessequa to help us. If you would like to join our campaign, kindly visit us at www.100000trees.co.za . You can become part of the count by registering a new tree online or adopting a tree that has already been planted.