Pupils plant fynbos at Princess Vlei

Angelique Ellis

Pupils from Hyde Park, Levana, Harmony and John Graham primary schools and Lotus High School came together to clear up litter, remove alien plants and plant 475 plants.

Thirty different species of the Cape Flats dune Strandveld and the Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetland fynbos were planted by the schools, which are both endangered species of vegetation. These plants help with the natural ecosystem in the area.

Bridget Pit, the press secretary for the Princess Vlei Forum, said they hoped to improve the area’s ecosystem.

“We decided to host the event for two reasons; the first being to plant indigenous fynbos in the area to better the ecosystems. Some of these plants help to clean the water and improve the water drainage systems in the area. The second reason is for these children to be actively involved in participating and improving the natural area. It helps them understand environmental issues and realise they can make a difference.”

The pupils were enthusiastic and eagerly used their hands to dig holes for the plants.

They were also treated to hotdogs and free canoe rides by Gravity Adventures. “The reason Gravity decided to be part of this event was because the majority of the children don’t have the opportunity to be on boats or go rafting. And to see them happy and smiling brings us joy” said the company’s Sonja Petersen.

Harmony Primary School pupils were thrilled take part.

“I feel excited and it’s nice to help out and plant. I am happy to be here and on a canoe for the first time,” said 13-year-old Tiffany Adams.

Dale Smith, 12, said: “I care about the environment because everyone at our school litters”.

Jessica Abrahams, a teacher at Harmony Primary School, said: “It’s all about the environment. It’s interesting and exciting for all of us and as teachers because you learn a lot and you are learning with your students. It also provides an opportunity for us to give back to the community”.

Shafiek Isaacs, a teacher at Lotus High School, said they had been involved with Princess Vlei for a number of years.

“We propagate plants and plant at Princess Vlei and other parts of the area. Sometimes we sell the plants at school and to people. We started the eco-club to help keep the kids out of trouble and instill proper values into their lives,” said Mr Isaacs.

Lotus High School principal, Benjamin Pietersen, said: “We help expose these kids to conservation and environmental concerns. It also helps to keep the kids occupied and whatever they learn here, they can plough it back into their communities.”