September 06, 2018

Arbor Day is an environmental awareness day in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season. South Africa first celebrated this event in 1983 and it is now celebrated for a week in September. The event captured the imagination of people who recognised the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. As sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty, trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP in partnership with Overstrand Municipality, Marine Dynamics and International Marine Volunteers participated in community “greening” event by planting trees (Wild olive and Cape ash) at the local high school, Gansbaai Academia, to improve the health and beauty of the school environment and create a green future for South Africa.

A medium-sized, evergreen tree, the wild olive (Olea europaea) is found throughout Africa, Arabia, India and China. Its sweetly scented flowers are creamy-white and appear from Spring through to Summer, followed by the small, deep purply-black fruit which when ripe are enjoyed by a host of birds and other animals.  The Wild olive tree is protected in South Africa. The Cape ash (Ekebergia capensis) is a large attractive evergreen tree and found in South Africa, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Like the Wild olive, its fruit is enjoyed by birds and mammals. Both trees will provide shade and protection from the wind.