On the 5th of September 2013 a partnership agreement between the Stellenbosch Municipality, Wildlands Conservation Trust and ‘Leaf a Legacy’ was signed in order to see the successful implementation of the “Million Trees Project”.
Stellenbosch Municipality have initiated the Million Trees Project aimed at greening the communities that fall within the Municipal boundaries and restoring the ecosystems which underwrite the health and livelihood of these communities.
Wildlands and its partners have well established mechanisms for supporting and enabling the propagation, planting and care of indigenous trees by disadvantaged and marginalised community members, while Leaf-a-Legacy is developing a community project aimed at job creation, greening the environment and creating a culture of cooperation amongst the communities of Stellenbosch.
Stellenbosch Municipality, Wildlands and Leaf-a-Legacy have therefore collaborated with a view to enabling the successful realisation of the Million Trees Project, with emphasis on maximising the greening, poverty alleviation and environmental restoration impact of this Campaign.
This campaign will be implemented with the help of a full time team of local community members, funded by the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). This team comprises of community facilitators who recruit and nurture Tree-preneurs*, a nursery team based at the Beltana Municipal nursery, a restoration team working on the rivers running through Stellenbosch Municipality (integrated with the activities of the teams currently working on the Eersterivier) and an administration and communications team working at the Stellenbosch Eco-Centre.
“Stellenbosch Municipality is grateful for the partners who share their vision to use the green environment to build community resilience and to improve the quality of marginalized communities”, said Gerald Esau, Manager Community Services at Stellenbosch Municipality. “This is an exciting and innovative approach to create jobs, green the environment and to improve our carbon footprint.”
“We would like to see all citizens living in and around Stellenbosch joining in this vision of a Million Trees and thus leaving a wonderful legacy. To plant a tree is to have hope for the future,” said Lydia Willems, Project Manager of Leaf a Legacy. “Through the partnership with Stellenbosch Municipality’s Million Trees Project and the support of Wildlands’ ‘Trees for Life’ activities, Leaf a Legacy hopes to facilitate the protection and restoration of our vulnerable natural environment and help restore dignity and hope to our local community with greening projects.”
“Wildlands would like to offer support and guidance for the progressive and strategic development of this campaign, and also align our existing Cape Metro focused ‘Trees for Life’* activities, funded by SPIER and PSG Konsult, with the Million Trees Project,” said Wildlands CEO Dr Andrew Venter. “This partnership is very exciting for the future of Stellenbosch and will ultimately see the creation of ‘green jobs’ and the building of a ‘green economy’ – one tree at a time!”
If you would like to contribute to the “Million Trees Project” please visit www.leafalegacy.org and click on the “Get Involved” page to sign up and pledge for between 100 and 1000 trees, or simply donate to this cause.
- Tree-preneur – an individual based in a rural community who grows and nurtures indigenous trees and then barters his/her trees for livelihood support items such as food, clothing, building material, education support, bicycles or Jojo tanks, for example.
- Trees for Life – this Wildlands’ initiative is a project that describes the growing of indigenous trees by Tree-preneurs which they can then barter for a redeemable voucher, with which they can purchase livelihood support items, and the planting of these trees in areas in need of restoration or reforestation.
- Thelma Ntakana, a Tree-preneur, proudly looking at one of the indigenous trees she has nurtured and grown.
- Leon Louw, although in a wheelchair, coaches and manages the local junior soccer team as a way of getting the youth off the streets showing them to utilize their talents in a positive manner, by staying away from crime and drugs. Leon is also a Tree-preneur and shares his knowledge with the youth in his community in Blikkiesdorp.
- Leon Louw is passionate and inspirational Tree-preneur that is a true example of “being the change he wants to see in the world.”