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Media Release: Rheenendal Primary benefits from eco-factory

07 June 2013

Through its Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP), SANParks has recycled (55 broken desks) to manufacture 55 refurbished desks. Broken parts were replaced, metal parts were all painted and all wooden parts varnished. Instead of the school having to spend scarce funding on new desks, the old broken desks were recycled at a fraction of the cost. 

Jill Bunding-Venter, General Manager of the Garden Route National Park says supporting the Rheenendal Primary School is another way of bringing the park to leaners in its jurisdiction. ‘This way they get a sense of the Park and the issues facing it. Invasive alien plants are a real threat.’  She adds that ‘protected areas are under increasing threat from external and internal pressures on biodiversity. Invasive alien plants can be identified as a threat to water resources, indigenous landscapes and pose a fire risk’ says Bunding-Venter. 

Authorities have found a way to turn the tide. Once cut down, invasive alien plants are used to manufacture furniture.  Through its Biodiversity Social Projects, SANParks and partners score double, says Cluster Manager, Herman Jungbauer-Rudman. ‘We clear the invasive plants off the land which not only secures biodiversity gains, but also use the same invasives to produce furniture. This has created 160 jobs since 2011.’ To date the Garden Route has two factories, one in Farleigh and another in Rheenendal.  

Most farm workers in Rheenendal take their children to the primary school identified by Jungbauer-Rudman’s team. It is an impoverished community situated between Knysna and Sedgefield. It has a beautiful combination of pasture, ferns and forests.

SANParks officially handed over the desks to the Rheenendal Primary today (7 June 2013).

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Garden Route Region Communications
Tel: 044 302 5633

Nandi Mgwadlamba
Tel: 044 302 5633;  Cell: 078 702 9663