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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

Louzanne breaks own world record in Switzerland
2017-06-09

Description: Louzanne breaks own world record  Tags: Louzanne breaks own world record

Rufus Botha (left), coach of the athlete Louzanne Coetzee,
went overseas with Coetzee and her guide,
Khothatso Mokone, for a race for the first time.
Coetzee improved her T11 5 000 m world record with more
than 20 seconds in Switzerland.
Photo: Johan Roux

She fought against illness, had to get the green light from medical personnel shortly before her main race, and was very nervous. However, on 5 June 2017, the blind athlete Louzanne Coetzee managed to improve the T11 5 000 m world record with more than 20 seconds.

The Kovsie star’s time of 18:14.27 at the ParAthletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland, was approximately 23 seconds faster than her previous world record (18:37.23). In addition, Coetzee, who works at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, also improved the South African T11 800 m record to 2:30.18 on 2 June 2017, and her 4:59.54 on 3 June 2017 in the T11 1 500 m was almost another national record.

Carried by UFS and other support
“One could never be ungrateful when running close to your personal best,” Coetzee said. “Fortunately, with God’s blessing, the support of everybody at home, support from the university, as well as my mom and them, it really was a very blessed and successful event.”

According to her coach, Rufus Botha, Coetzee was not feeling well before the event and had to get medical clearance before the 5 000 m. He told her not to run too hard, even though their goal was 18:20. “She ran an incredible final 600 m, which brought the time down to 18:14,” he said. “It was amazing to watch.”

Botha’s knowledge valuable abroad
He enjoyed going overseas with Coetzee and her guide, Khothatso Mokone, for the first time. “His (Botha’s) experience, knowledge, support, and coaching was extremely valuable,” Coetzee said. “It will definitely help me in future: how to approach things, and everything he shared with us.”

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