‘My name is Imange and I wrote on my lucky stick, ‘I hope you grow little Imareed'. And the plant I planted is a reed. I named it half of my name so it could grow, and maybe it will know me when I am old. I hope to come back to Princess Vlei and I hope to still find my stick and my plant in the same place as I planted it.’ - Imange Nondela, Grade 7 Floreat Primary
Imange Nondela is one of 45 Primary School learners from Floreat and Levana Primary who came to plant at Princess Vlei on July 22. The learners were planting on the Northern Shore, in the restoration area adjoining Briana Crescent.
This restoration area was established in 2021. As this part of Princess Vlei was originally Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, a critically endangered vegetation type, restoring the plant life there has enabled the re-establishment of many Red List species endemic to this type of fynbos. These include Erica turgida, an extinct-in-the wild Erica, as well as Serruria foeniculacea, Steirodiscus tagetes and Podalyria sericea. The planting last year increased the biodiversity in the area from three or four species to over forty-four.
This year, 1187 plants of six different species were planted, including Isolepis rubicundus, Anthospermum aethiopicum, Pelargonium capitatum, Elegia nuda and Psoralwa pinnata.
As always, the learners enthusiastically embraced their task. They were each given a sucker stick on which to write their names, and a message to encourage the plant to grow. Some, like Imange, named their plants - the name Steve was a favourite, and one child was overheard saying, ‘be careful, you’re about to step on Steve’. It was touching to see the care and love they brought to the task. One of the Forum’s core missions is to invoke deep connection, passion and love for the plants and the earth amongst our young guardians - this connection was strongly evident.
Kristi Jooste, a teacher from Floreat who accompanied the learners, had this to say about the afternoon: ‘As a school environmental club we are committed to offering opportunities to our school community that promote environmental health and sustainability. In a world filled with so many pressures to deepen the disconnections between both the natural world and one another, we jump at opportunities such as these initiated by PVF as these offer space for our learners, staff and parents to contribute towards maintaining and rebuilding our local natural environment, and in the process strengthening each of our personal connections with nature and with one another.’
We look forward to watching these plants grow, and feel confident that Imange’s reed and its offspring will continue to recognise her, and be grateful to the young hands which nurtured them and helped to bring new life.
Thanks to the teachers who give up their free time to bring the learners, to our volunteers, to Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust managed by Nedbank Private Wealth for funding our schools work, and of course to the plants of Princess Vlei.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.