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12 September 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Arbor tree plant
To celebrate National Arbor Week the University of the Free State has embarked on a drive to plant 150 trees during the month of September

If you’ve wondered whether Arbor Month was important, you only have to look at the destruction and long-term damage that deforestation causes to the environment and the world’s inhabitants. To observe National Arbor Month, the University of the Free State’s has (UFS) kick-started a drive to plant 150 trees during the month of September.

To launch this initiative, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, alongside members of the rectorate, assisted the University Estates team in planting the first 10 of 100 trees at the Bloemfontein Campus on Wednesday 4 September 2019. A total of 50 trees will be planted on the Qwaqwa Campus.

Towards a sustainable future

“We have gone through periods of drought in the Free State that have severely impacted not only the plants but the trees on our campuses. The idea is to emphasise sustainability, and as a university, we believe that sustainability is important. As an education institution, we have to look at the generations that are still to come to our campuses,” said Prof Petersen.

He urged the Kovsie community to ensure that all practices across the campuses are linked to global standards of sustainability. “As we develop over the next couple of months and years, we will get much closer alignment between what we are doing as a university and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Drought-resistant man-made forests

Clusters of mini forests across the campuses will be created with a variety of trees including the karee, white karee, white stinkwood, and wild olive. These indigenous trees can adapt well to different soils including those that are poorly drained.

Celebrating Arbor Week

This year’s campaign was held under the theme Forests and Sustainable Cities. As part of the celebration, University Estates made a commitment to the environment by embarking on the green initiative which includes other project such as the upgrade of Red Square on the Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Geology researcher wins international photographic contest
2017-06-02

Description: Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva Tags: Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva

In this winning photo, “Movement of the ancient sand”,
Dr Matthew Huber, postdoctoral research fellow in the
Department of Geology at UFS, is scaling an outcrop
of sandstone (former sand dunes) in the Zion National
Park in the US.
Photo: Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva


Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva and Dr Matthew Huber, postdoctoral research fellows in the Department of Geology at the University of the Free State (UFS), attended the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna, Austria in April 2017, where Dr Kovaleva was declared a winner of the EGU photo contest with a photograph entitled “Movement of the ancient sand”.

Submitting the winning photo
Each participant could submit up to three photos to participate in the contest before the conference. From all the photographs 10 were selected and displayed for the entire week at the assembly so participants could vote for their three favourite photos. At the end of the week three winners were selected. The prize winners received a free EGU book of their choice, free registration for next year’s EGU and an option to judge the photo competition next year. The photos will be printed on postcards next year, so all participants can send them wherever they want around the globe.

“The picture was taken in the Zion National Park in the US. Myself and Dr Huber were travelling around the western states, visiting national parks. The person in the picture is Dr Huber,” said Dr Kovaleva.

Dr Kovaleva was also invited to participate - as a recently published author - in a workshop, called: ”Publishing in EGU journals: Solid Earth and Earth Surface Dynamics – Meet the Editors”.

At the assembly, Dr Kovaleva attended sessions on Tectonics and Structural Geology as well as on Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology and Volcanology. These sessions were especially interesting in the scope of her research and are directly related to it. “I am a metamorphic petrologist, and with my PhD, I essentially studied microstructures. At the moment, I am studying the Vredefort impact crater, which has experienced both metamorphism and deformation,” she said.

“The winning photos will be printed on postcards,
so all participants can send them wherever they
want around the globe”.

Building scientific connections
For both researchers, the assembly was an opportunity to meet former colleagues and professors from universities all over the world and shake hands with authors whose papers and work they were familiar with, but had never met in person.

“EGU is a perfect opportunity to build scientific connections and relationships, advertise your research and start new collaborations and projects,” said Dr Kovaleva.

The EGU General Assembly 2017 was a great success, with 4 849 oral, 11 312 poster, and 1 238 PICO presentations. Some 649 unique scientific sessions, together with 88 short courses and 322 side events, created an interesting programme. At the conference 14 496 scientists from 107 countries participated, of whom 53% were under the age of 35. Thirty one were from South Africa.

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