There is a small informal community in Nature’s Valley which is nestled in and amongst Milkwoods and Cheesewoods on the sand dunes of Kleinkrantz. Under the supervision and direction of Brian Mushfield, a retired minister and Kleinkrantz resident, the community have been working closely with one another to elevate their space and develop their community.
One specific project has been the upgrade of the existing playground and the creation of two play areas for the children. The need for trees across these playgrounds was fulfilled when Cheesewoods and Milkwoods, the endemic tree species that grows naturally in the area, were donated by local Wilderness residents, Mike and Romy. The community, old and young alike, joined us to plant these – as well as additional Milkwoods donated by Precious Tree Project – in and around the playground areas.
“Blessed are old people who plant trees knowing that they shall never sit in the shade of their foliage”
If the elders of the community do not get to sit under the shade of these trees they planted, the children of the community will.
Lawaaikamp Creche is a small school for learners under the age of 5 years. Situated in Thembalethu in George, the creche, like most in the surrounds, is located in an area where employment levels are low and funding not easy to come by from the local community members. The crèche is continually in need of assistance and more often than not, is unable to afford the upkeep of the outdoor learning environment: the grounds are noticeably bare and absent of trees (for shade at the very least), the vegetable patch that was started early in 2021 is bare of produce and the rickety outdoor “jungle gym” is in need of repair.
We teamed up with local authorities to assist the school’s requirements for more trees around the ground and supplied the crèche with trees, indigenous tree seeds to germinate on-site and then plant out in the grounds over the course of the year using the planting method we demonstrated on the day. We also donated veggie seeds in order to help revive their vegetable garden.
Not only did we use the opportunity to raise awareness among these young learners about the importance of trees but to teach them about the importance of eating their vegetables too!
If you are able to assist with food seed contributions or help with the jungle gym, please contact Melissa on 084 490 8876.
The Inkcubeko Youth and Science Centre is a non-profit initiative of the Isisombululo Community Improvement Programme and serves Thembalethu and the greater Garden Route District. The centre operates as a safe space for youth to explore how their external world around them works by igniting curiosity and interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and innovation. The centre also serves as a foundation for youth empowerment, community development, capacity building, social cohesion and youth orientated projects and programmes.
In collaboration with local environmental authorities, we spent the morning with the staff planting trees and raising their awareness around the importance of trees and the health of our natural environment… important information that they themselves will impart to the learners and community at large.
As one would like to see be the norm, they have started a small organic food garden on the property and we have joined in on this program by providing food seeds, seeds of green leafy vegetables, compost and earthworm juice to kick start the process. Their longer term goal is to have an organic waste management system in place to feed the food gardens.