In the best of economic times, finding employment in the Garden Route is a difficult task. Here the economy is largely driven by the tourist industry and is mostly seasonal for many local businesses and individuals. Covid and lockdown regulations impacted heavily on this already limited earning potential of the local community members living around the breadline, particularly as more businesses struggled to keep afloat and their doors open. The move into Alert Level 1 at the end of February and the slow regrouping of local businesses has not eased the situation for most of them.
The need to address the employment situation in the short, medium and long term has always been on our agenda and as such, PTP commits a percentage of all funds received towards its job creation program. Two primary activities that are part of the assisted reforestation process is clearing invasive non-indigenous trees and planting out pockets of endemic forest trees. Creates the perfect opportunity for employment for those who have basic level skills… All it takes is guidance, on the spot training, a spade and/or a panga and off to work we go!
Thank you Kevin Coyne, Coyne Healthcare SA for your sponsorship that has made it possible to provide employment to those who sorely need it!
If you would like to support our ongoing efforts of assisted regeneration of our forest biome, click here!
In our last activity before entering into lockdown we handed out thousands of food seeds to the Wilderness Heights Village community, where the majority of residents live around the breadline. The young workforce that PTP is slowly building up to plant out our sponsored trees, live in this community and they have been using lockdown time to plant mini food-gardens all around their homes…. and their green fingers are showing! ❤❤
The heavy winds that had become a regular occurrence in the last 3 months of 2019 played havoc with some of the Keurbooms in our area. Virgilia divaricata & Virgilia oroboides. Keurbooms are pioneer trees – they are one of the first of the endemic trees in the Garden Route to pop up and they grow very quickly – providing initial canopies of shade to many of the not-as-fast growers and generally have a life span of around 15 years.
The flowers of both species are rich in nectar and therefor attract many insects and birds – loeries, sunbirds, carpenter bees, honey bees and ants. They also provide nesting homes for birds like doves and white-eyes. Vervet monkeys chew the leaves and eat the seeds. On the forest floor, the large ghost moth, Leto venus, is known to lay its eggs at the foot of the tree so that the hatching caterpillars can bore into the wood. The blue butterfly (Lampides boeticus) breeds on Keurboom trees.
Two Keurbooms on one of the small holdings in Wilderness Heights fell over as a result of the heavy winds in September and October 2019. PTP used this as an opportunity to harvest the seeds of these fallen trees for our future tree planting needs. We also used this as an opportunity to provide employment for some of our young – where they spent the day removing the seeds from their pods, counting them out and packaging them in recycled containers for germination at our mini satellite nurseries.
Separating Indigenous Seeds: We were fortunate to have a few thousand seeds (endemic and indigenous forest and food trees to our area) donated to our tree growing and nursery development program. In order to allocate them to each mini satellite nursery, we joined up with these young unemployed members of our local community on a sunny day, out in the open, under a tree where they were shown how to count them out, label and package them in recycled paper holders.
Counting out hundreds of seeds half a pinhead in size is no easy task …. but the conditions were perfect and these young men showed patience in the process. They also learnt how to identify the endemic indigenous trees in our area from the seeds they were handling, and a way to recognise and name the different species of seeds. A handy bit of knowledge to have if you want to become a VIP!
Our young workforce kick-started the year off with a day of training-on-the-job, facilitated by Matt, from Six Kingdoms. We used the opportunity to teach them how to plant out Forest Elder seedlings (rapos) … bagging them correctly, feeding/watering them, and as importantly, how to handle them with care.
30% of every tree sponsored through Precious Tree Project is allocated to social upliftment, training and job creation, and this was a taste of things to come for these young men.
We may not be in the position to employ them on a full-time basis yet, but the vision is to create work for them from your sponsorship, and enable them a higher standard of living in the Garden Route. Learn more about the PTP Workforce.