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Media Release: KNP celebrates Arbor Week with school kids

Date: 6th September 2011

The Kruger National Park's (KNP's) Managing Executive, Abe Sibiya handed over 25 indigenous trees to the educators and learners of Mjejane Primary School for planting on Thursday, September 1, 2011 as part of the Arbor Day celebration and to encourage learners to take part in greening events which improve the health and beauty of the environment.

After the formalities, Mr Abe Sibiya plants one of the trees while the educators and learners observe.Our mandate as South African National Parks is to conserve nature, including trees; therefore it is important that we raise awareness of their value. When we adopted Mjejane Primary School in 2007, we committed ourselves to transforming the school and other local areas to become healthy, learning centres through our greening initiatives. There is a tremendous opportunity for these children, mostly from disadvantaged communities who often live in neglected areas, to learn about environment”, explained Sibiya.

The school which starts from Grade R to 7 is in need of adequate necessities such as proper classes, sports fields and consistence feeding schemes. Sibiya encouraged the learners to regularly check on the trees’ progress and told them that not only will the trees give way to pride but the learners would have planted something that makes people want to stop and rest when passing by.

 “The idea is to spread the conservation gospel among these future conservationists but to also ensure they play a meaningful part in the environmental sector. Starting a garden, whether flowers or vegetables, can give learners a quality environmental record and more, they can boost their diet with the healthiest home grown foods”, continued Sibiya.

Skukuza nursery, which has a wide selection of indigenous trees, donated five tree species types to the school suitable for the weather conditions at Nkomazi region. The celebrations in the KNP will continue throughout Arbor Week, with planting of more trees in various local schools from the different communities bordering the Park.

“Our trees are under threat because of people who cut them down for no apparent reason; often I have seen areas being cleared of trees because of a new building construction. Sometimes precious trees are chopped down because we want to use the land for agricultural purposes and in many cases; there are alternatives which we could consider before destroying them. Trees not only provide a home for wildlife, shade and fresh air for us but have a potential of providing tourism attractions for visitors, thereby increasing revenue”, concluded Sibiya.

On annual basis, the KNP as well as other national parks participates in these tree planting celebrations. The Park engages with community forums and other relevant committees to build capacity and assist local communities to come up with ideas, develop and implement sustainable greening projects in their communities.

Issued by:
Laura Mukwevho, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4262, cell: 082 807 1441 or e-mail: lauram@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or e-mail: williamm@sanparks.org

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