People do not need to go to the beach when they want to relax, they can sit under the trees and breathe in the same fresh air. These were the words of Adriaan Gradwell, principal of Mary Harding School, during a tree planting ceremony held at the school on Wednesday 18 September. The event, which was also attended by the executive mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, was part of the mayoral activities undertaken during Arbor Month.During September, Plato and members of the City’s department of recreation and parks have embarked on a series of tree planting activities across the City. Their aim is to plant more than 1000 indigenous trees and plants across the city during Arbor Month.One of the sites identified by the City was Mary Harding School in Athlone. The school takes care of learners from Grade R to Grade 5 with mental and intellectual challenges. They currently have 294 learners. Gradwell thanked the City for choosing their school and described the donation of trees as a “wonderful gesture.”“This is brilliant of the mayor to come to a school in a community such as Athlone and plant some trees, because in most cases we are neglected when it comes to things like this (recreational activities),” he said.He expressed events such as this one tend to be held in more affluent areas. He said the event also encourages the learners to take care of the environment .He also thanked the mayor’s office for getting the learners involved. Some of the learners travelled with the mayor to the City’s nursery in Newlands to choose and fetch the trees that were later planted at the school. In a statement, Plato said it is vital to get young people interested in the environment, since they will be the ones who will be looking after the parks and recreational spaces in the future. “By involving them in the planting of trees, we help them understand the importance of being aware of and looking after their surroundings,” he said.This year’s theme for Arbor Month was “Forests and Sustainable Cities”. The campaign wanted to raise awareness of the importance of South Africa’s indigenous forests and promote sustainable cities.Plato added that Arbor Month played an important role in the greening of open spaces. According to him, the tree planting activities they have embarked on were part of his “back-to-basics” campaign which is aimed at focusing on getting basic service delivery right.