The Universal Greening Organisation (UGO) in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR) and Vhembe District, Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) celebrated Arbor day by planting five trees at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) on Monday 02 September 2019.
In an official event that took place at the University School of Environmental Sciences CAD-LAB, the School’s Secretary Thabelo Ramarumo welcomed the students and invited guests at the Arbor Day celebration. When outlining the purpose of the celebration, he said that September is regarded as Arbor month and on this month, they want to create an awareness on the importance of the tree. “This is our event and I urge all students to fully participate in this event and also ask questions where you need clarity,” said Ramarumo.
Guest speaker, Phistos Shoroma from the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in Thohoyandou touched on the origin and history of Arbor Day. He indicated that Arbor Day dates back to the early 1870s in Nebraska City, Nebraska. “In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognized the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. Collective enthusiasm for the importance of this issue in South Africa, inspired the national government in 1999 to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week,” said Shoroma.
His advice to the University of Venda Environmental Sciences students was that they should make it a habit to plant trees every time. “You shouldn’t wait for Arbor day to plant trees because without trees, there is no life,” he said.
Shoroma added that trees are sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty. Trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities.
“To increase awareness of our beautiful indigenous tree species, two trees are highlighted each year as Tree of the Year, one common and one rare species. The Common Tree of 2019 is the Sclerocarya birrea (Marula Maroela), with the uncommon one being the Philenoptera violacea Apple-leaf, (Appelblaar),” concludes Shoroma.
Miss UNIVEN 2018/19 who is also a student at the School of Environmental Sciences, Thamathama Ratshili said that she is excited to be part of the 2019 Arbor Day. “It pleases me that as an environmental sciences student I have made a mark that before I leave the University, I have also planted a tree which will also provide the entire University community with life and also helps to reduce soil erosion.”
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 03 September 2019