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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo


Johannesburg Zoo


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It's a special week in the plant world – Arbor Week – when people are encouraged to plant trees and learn about the environment. Plenty of activities are planned by the City.

Arbour WeekIT'S time to get out those spades and start planting as Arbor Week is now upon us. The week, which takes place annually in the first week of September in South Africa, is a special time aimed at promoting the planting and sustaining of flora.

The official Arbor Week event takes place on 6 September at the Johannesburg Zoo, where 2 000 pupils will be hosted to create awareness about the importance of preserving plant life. They will be taught more about how to keep their environment free of vandalism, littering and by-law transgressions. Some 12 stakeholders will hold exhibitions at the Band Stand, including Trees for Africa, Grow a Tree, Miss Earth, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Rand Water and the universities of Johannesburg, Witwatersrand and Pretoria.

A new inner city park, next to Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein, will officially be opened. Investment in the park was R13-million, and it has facilities such as an outdoor gym, a soccer field and a playground. In addition, 2 000 trees will be planted by Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) in all regions of the city, in conjunction with ward councillors, schools and other educational institutions, as well as government departments and businesses.

Cosmo City Primary School in Randburg will plant 500 trees down Anglo Street and South Africa Drive, among other streets. Trees will also be planted in areas such as Protea Glen, Limbro Park and GBS Primary School in Rispark. Already, 67 trees were planted on 4 September at the Randjiesfontein Depot.

Since 2010, JCPZ has planted more than 200 000 trees in Joburg, transforming its once unkempt, dry and dusty suburbs into green spaces. It has also taken a leading role in planting food gardens around the city, offering food security in a number of disadvantaged areas. JCPZ has urged businesses to fund initiatives that will provide more food gardens, as well as to plant more trees.

Each year, at least two specific trees are highlighted during Arbor Week, one common and one or two rare species. The common tree for 2013 is the Virgilia oroboides (blossom tree or keurboom) and the rare or uncommon trees are the Grewia occidentalis (cross-berry or kruisbessie) as well as the Barringtonia racemosa (powder-puff tree or poeierkwas boom).

Initially simply celebrated as Arbor Day on 6 September, the government extended activities to Arbor Week, running from 1 to 7 September. Trees are important as they offer shelter, food, medicine and are essential for our oxygen supply.