Stellenbosch wine estate, Uitkyk has extended its eco-sustainable commitment by donating 40 indigenous trees to the neighbouring community of Kayamandi, marking the start of spring.
Early in September, to plant the trees, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) champion teamed up with Serve the City, a volunteer-driven, non-profit organisation dedicated to uplifting impoverished communities surrounding Stellenbosch, and Pneumatix South Africa, an academic and arts-education scheme that initiates youth leadership programmes.
Uitkyk bought a consignment of indigenous Kaapse Essenhout, Olienhout, Boekenhout, Assegaai and wild Peach trees to plant in Kayamandi. Uitkyk winemaker, Estelle Lourens, and viticulturist, Rudi Buys wanted to find a way of helping to green their local community. ‘Seeing that many of Uitkyk’s farm workers are from Kayamandi, we wanted to give back to them in a way that would enhance their environmentâ€, says Estelle.
Learning more about natural heritage
Twenty five trees were planted in the Kayamandi Primary School’s grounds and alongside a nearby road, while 15 other trees found their home at the Kayamandi High School. ‘This opportunity helps our children to learn more about our natural heritage and how to treat the environment sustainably. It also encourages them to take responsibility says Mafungwashe Msileni, who teaches agricultural sciences at Kayamandi High.
‘We are definitely considering making the caring of the trees part of the syllabus.’
After the pupils received a brief tutorial about how to plant and nurture the trees they helped to dig the holes, soften the soil and mix it with compost and bone meal.
Uitkyk will follow up after six months to see how the trees are progressing. If the trees are maturing well, the estate will help in planting vegetable gardens for the two schools and give the learners and their teachers tips on how to maintain them.
Agrimark Stellenbosch also lent a hand in the initial planting process by providing Uitkyk with sufficient compost and bone meal for every tree. The company will also be involved in the follow-up visit and the creation of the vegetable gardens.