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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.

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Kovsie students bring warmth to the Bloemfontein community
2013-06-01

 

Michael van Niekerk and Melissa Lucas, prime of Akasia, making up the packages.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
14 June 2013

It goes without saying that winter in Bloemfontein is scarcely pleasant, especially if you do not have the proper clothing. Members of the Kovsie community have taken a step towards giving a helping hand to those in need. Share the Warmth Winter wonder box is a project that was launched by the SRC City Residences and Commuter students to help keep the cold away. Students and staff of the University of the Free State (UFS) donate a package which includes a blanket, beanie, gloves, socks and sweets, to be handed out to the children in need.

Share the Warmth Winter is the brainchild of Michael van Niekerk who is the SRC member in charge of the portfolio. He received the idea for such a project from an initiative he is a part of at Mooiplaas Township. “People make shoeboxes with presents inside for children and hand them out during Christmas. I thought it would be a great idea to share the warmth in winter, especially in the freezing Free State,” he said.

The team managed to collect more than 100 items in just a few weeks. The distribution of the boxes will take place around the Bloemfontein area. Teams will visit shelters, while others will hand out the boxes directly to children in places like Heidedal and downtown.

“I am very delighted by the response and think that this is something that needs to grow bigger and bigger to include the entire Bloemfontein every winter,” said Michael when asked if it is a once-off project. People who would like to bring warmth to the little ones, can still send boxes or packages to the SRC Building or send an email to vanniekerkm@ufs.ac.za for more information.

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