Arbor week promises to be particularly interesting this year at Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden. As the Centenary celebrations of both the Garden and the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) gain momentum, visitors to the garden are in for extra special events. The Silver Tree Restoration Project is one of the Centenary legacy projects and lucky garden visitors could receive a Silver Tree of their own. Learn more about the construction of the Treetop Canopy Walkway and explore the Arboretum. An outreach project will also see a number of schools each receiving ten trees, including the tree of the Year – Virgilia orboroides or blossom tree or Keurboom, as part the Kirstenbosch schools Outreach Greening programme .
From Sunday 1 September to Saturday 6 September the first 100 visitors to the Garden each day will receive a FREE Silver Tree sapling. This underlines the Silver Tree Restoration Project which supports the survival of this indigenous tree that is unique to the slopes of Table Mountain. A walk along the recently planted Silver Tree avenue will be a must as visitors can enjoy the historical value and the major effort that has gone into ensuring the survival of this elegant member of the Protea family . This trail runs from Rycroft gate (Kirstenbosch Gate 3) to the historic Cork Oak planting where Southern Cross Drive connects to Rhodes Drive.
The project is a collaboration between Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, BotSoc, Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI with the objective of restoring 8000 Silver Trees to sites where historically they occurred naturally.
A very unusual project that is gaining a lot of interest is the Treetop Canopy Walkway which is currently under construction and is a legacy project of the Centenary celebrations. Affectionately known as the Boomslang walkway because of its shape as it rises over the trees, horticulturist Adam Harrower will be leading a walk daily from Monday 2 September to Friday 5 September from 11am to 12pm. This will offer visitors a peek behind the scenes of this project, which will show the sights of the Arboretum (or Enchanted Forest), one of the lesser known areas of the garden, housing some 450 indigenous species. The Arboretum forms the backdrop to the sloping lawns of the concert garden and is situated in the Garden’s South Western quadrant. This elevated walkway is due for completion in early summer 2013 and is set to become another major attraction of the Garden.
The GoldFields Education Centre at Kirstenbosch runs a very active outreach programme and will be hosting a project called Our forests – Our future for schools. Nine schools will attend lessons in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden during Arbor week, from the 3rd to 6th September.
Led by the Goldfields Education Officers, learners from Grades R to 10 will participate in curriculum-linked, activity-based lessons, focusing on trees and forest ecology. The younger learners will enjoy forest-themed songs and stories while hunting for organisms in our forests, while the older learners will focus on the functioning of forests ecosystems and the pressures and threats they face. Four of the schools, Wynberg and Scottsville Secondaries, Mkanyiseli Primary and Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills, will be sponsored by the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) to attend an Arbor Week lesson in the Garden. Each of these schools will receive trees which they will plant at their schools.
As part of their Outreach programme the team from Goldfields will be going into the townships and will run an Arbor Week event at the Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital in Mitchell’s Plain. Fifty trees will be planted, some alongside the Main Avenue and some at different wards. Ten schools will assist in this planting and additionally a tree – planting ceremony will take place the week after Arbor Week with a school that receives trees as part of the Biodiversity Education Programme.
The trees will be donated by the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and by SANBI. The teachers will also receive packs of posters, booklets and other useful resources to be used in their classrooms.
For further information please call 021 799 8783 or visit www.sanbi.org.za
Issued on behalf of Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden and the Botanical Society of South Africa by HIPPO Communications