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KZN Honorary Rangers celebrate Arbor Day

06 March 2009

Last year Chris Beyleveld, one of the Honorary Ranger’s from the KwaZulu-Natal region embarked on an Arbor Day project after discussions and encouragement that the KZN HR needed to get involved.

Beyleveld, a Reliability Engineer with ArcelorMittal at their Rolling Operations plant in Newcastle, was able to convince the Management of ArcelorMittal to participate in the National Arbor Week. This resulted in 600 indigenous trees being planted at a total cost of well over R600 000 around the ArcelorMittal terrain in Newcastle.

Beyleveld and his department decided to put a personal effort into Arbor Day by planting 156 indigenous trees around the Rolling Operations plant. They started organising, which included the selection and purchasing of the trees to be planted. They decided on planting 25 trees of six indigenous trees species. The trees selected was yellow wood (Podocarpus henkelii); wild olive (Oleo africana); tree fuschia (Halleria lucida); white karee (Rhus pendulina); black karee (Rhus lancea); and wild peach (Kiggelaria africana).

Delegates from the HR KZN and

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife exchanging

certificates of appreciation

Due to the rocky soil, they had to make use of heavy equipment to dig the holes. The digging of the holes, filling it with proper soil and mixing the soil with compost and fertilizer were completed during August. Each hole was cordoned off with white poles and chevron tape. The holes were all finally watered well a week before planting of the trees started. The first load of trees arrived on 2 September 2008. All but six of the 156 trees were planted on 3 September 2008.

The main event of the tree planting ceremony took place on September 5, 2008. The guests included the members of the Honorary Rangers of KZN; a representative for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; learners from the Amajuba High School in Newcastle; representatives from the press; the top management team of ArcelorMittal; and the management and employees from Rolling Operations. The last six trees were then planted by selected members of the guests. Jan de Wet, Chair of the KZN HR, planted a yellow wood tree. After the ceremony, the guests were treated to lunch.

This was indeed an impressive effort by Chris Beyleveld and his team, and deserves full credit for their efforts.