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Planting trees and learning about medicinal herbs are some of the activities being held to mark Earth Day, when the natural environment is the focus.

Plant a tree to mark Earth DayPlant a tree to mark Earth DayCITY Parks will join the rest of the world in marking Earth Day by planting trees, with the help of youth at Retinitis South Africa in Malvern, a suburb in the east of Johannesburg.

Hosted annually on 22 April, Earth Day encourages people to get involved with deeds that increase awareness of the natural environment. It is about uniting voices around the globe in support of a healthy planet. This year’s theme looks at mobilising people to put pressure on local, national and international leaders and governments to take strong action to protect and conserve the environment.

On the day, City Parks staff will be out in the suburb and a group of youngsters from the South African National Defence Force, known as the Young Lions, will be involved in some environmental activities such as planting trees and gardening. Pupils from local schools will also attend to learn about the environment and what they can do to preserve it. Speakers will include Moliehi Moonyane from Johannesburg City Parks, who will give some background on Earth Day and some tips on growing trees.

There will be a ceremonial tree and vegetable planting by City Parks and the Young Lions, who will later give the Retinitis South Africa building a new coat of paint.

In Orange Farm, members of a food gardening project are marking Earth Day at Thembu Primary School today with a medicinal herb workshop. Members of the community are learning about herbs that can be taken to treat illnesses, and make ointments and balms. They are also learning how to preserve and store the plants.

Over the past three years, the food gardening project has been receiving support from Food and Trees Africa through the Embassy of the Royal Netherlands.