Pedal power plants trees

2016-06-29 15:07
Executive director of the Botanical Society of South Africa, Zaitoon Rabaney (centre), was ready to help Paul Cartmel (right) and Table Mountain National Park manager Paddy Gordon to start planting indigenous trees in Cecilia Forest last week.

Executive director of the Botanical Society of South Africa, Zaitoon Rabaney (centre), was ready to help Paul Cartmel (right) and Table Mountain National Park manager Paddy Gordon to start planting indigenous trees in Cecilia Forest last week. (Gary van Dyk)

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Pedal power and a man’s passion for going green will see the slopes of the Cecilia Forest filled with shady trees in a few years’ time.

Newlands resident Paul Cartmel took the Botanical Society of South Africa’s (BotSoc) mission statement to heart when it called for “material support of individuals and organisations wherever they may be for the conservation, cultivation, wise use and study of the indigenous vegetation of southern Africa”.

The keen mountain biker and nature lover wanted to share his love for the environment, in particular the Cecilia Forest in Tokai that he and many of his friends use for outdoor enjoyment.
On Wednesday22 June he gathered with some members of the society and staff of SANParksto plant more than 600 trees on the slopes of the Cecilia Forest.

He explains how the idea began: “Last year I decided to try to be greener and commute on my bicycle as much as was feasible,” he said at the event.

“In the end, using a tracking application (Strava), I found that I covered 4000km. Somewhere along the line I decided that I’d donate R1 for every 1km I rode to planting trees, and I tweeted a request for matching donations on Twitter.

“At that point the good man Jon Maliepaard jumped on board. At the end of year we had R8000 towards a plantation. I recently asked another friend of mine (who wants to remain anonymous) and he donated a further R4000.”

It was indeed an inspiration when the botanical society received communication from him wishing to donate funds for tree planting.
As the BotSoc is about people, passion and partnerships, Table Mountain National Park manager Paddy Gordon was approached to discuss this exciting possibility of the BotSoc and partners joining hands with them to assist with the planting of indigenous trees within the park as part of their management plan.
“It was important for us to do the right thing in terms of the existing management of the area,” says BotSoc executive director Zaitoon Rabaney.
“Without hesitation the Kirstenbosch gardens team also came on board and more than 600 indigenous trees were sourced from the Kirstenbosch nursery. “Reliance Compost, a great supporter of the BotSoc outreach activities, donated compost and also some of the trees. Kirstenbosch stafftook responsibility of clearing and preparing the site for the big event of planting the indigenous trees in the forest as guided by the management plan of the park.”

Gordon was also very excited and motivated about the initiative.

“The actions from these types of initiatives are rather impactful,” he says.
“This event will support the park staff in the execution of their mandates, assisting with the outputs of the management plan for the park as well as replacing non-indigenous trees with indigenous trees.”

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