Arbor week brings joy and laughter to York Road Primary

Dalton Gibbs, regional manager for biodiversity of the City of Cape Towns area south, plants a tree.

York Road Primary School did its bit for Arbor Week, celebrated in South Africa during the first week of September, by planting a tree in front of the school.

The tree was donated by the Edith Stevens Nature Reserve in Lansdowne and planted by Dalton Gibbs, regional manager for biodiversity of the City of Cape Town’s area south, and Stacey Anne Richards, a conservation officer at the reserve, on Thursday last week.

It was grown from a seed of the original Treaty Tree, the 500-year-old white milkwood in Woodstock under which peace was made on January 10 1806 after the Battle of Blaauwberg.

Ms Richards said they had chosen York Road because it had an environmentally friendly attitude. The plan is to rehabilitate the school grounds to create a natural haven for bird life and promote environmental awareness in the rest of the community.

She said the City wanted to also teach pupils about the medicinal value of plants so they could share the knowledge with their families “especially those on the Cape Flats who do not have money for medication”.

Ms Richards hoped the tree would offer comfort and peace to the pupils – things every child needed.

York Road Primary science teacher Mark Joseph Frank Ogilvie said the school’s pupils would take better care of their environment if they knew more about it.

“If they understand it, it is more likely that they will take ownership of it. Kids who care about nature become caring adults, and, at the end of the day, they can say that they made a difference in the world,” he said.