City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

 

Johannesburg Zoo

 

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Arbor Week was a celebration of trees, greenery and biodiversity at the Joburg Zoo, where over a thousand schoolchildren learned about their environment. Plans for links to Zoo Lake were also discussed.

The plans for Zoo Lake were highlighted at Joburg's official Arbor Week celebrationsThe plans for Zoo Lake were highlighted at Joburg's official Arbor Week celebrationsTHE importance of green spaces in the context of growing urban density was at the heart of Arbor Week celebrations at the Johannesburg Zoo, where plans were unpacked to bridge the divide between the zoo and the near-by Zoo Lake.

A budget of R12-million has been set aside by the City for the three-year programme. Of this, R2-million will be used next year to dredge the lake as its water is heavily silted. "The silt has resulted in log-jams and this is not healthy for the aquatic system," explained Jenny Moodley, the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) spokesperson.

The lake itself was man-made, she pointed out, and its water was not drinkable, but there was a need to create a healthy environment to support its ecosystem. The remaining R10-milion will go towards drawing up a master plan for the zoo and the lake area, creating a link between the two hubs. The plan will focus on biodiversity as well as recreation.

A free-to-use green outdoor gym is on the cards, as is a formalised jogging pathway and interim parking in Upper Park Drive.

The plans were highlighted at Joburg's official Arbor Week celebrations, which took place at the zoo. They marked the importance of nurturing trees as well as preserving the environment as more people flocked to the city. Some 1 500 pupils from 15 Joburg schools were invited to the zoo for the day, where they saw exhibitions from partnering companies and learned about the benefits of preserving the city's trees.

1 500 pupils from 15 Joburg schools were invited to the zoo for the day1 500 pupils from 15 Joburg schools were invited to the zoo for the dayChris Vondo, mayoral committee member for community development, urged the children to become more involved in the environment and to protect the trees, especially those that had been planted since 2007. They were also able to tour the zoo. "Learners who have never been to the zoo got to see it for the first time and we also got to highlight the importance of trees in our environment against the backdrop of growing urbanisation," said Moodley.

Six companies had exhibitions, using Arbor Week as a platform to showcase their environmental programmes. Their representatives engaged with the children in a "touch and feel" session to get a sense of some of the projects and programmes.

The celebration reinforced the green call to action in which Joburg's residents and businesses are urged to get involved in sustaining the environment through cleaning programmes and taking care of trees as they are a source of food, oxygen and shelter.

Since 2010, JCPZ has planted 300 000 trees and has transformed many areas in and around the city.