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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

Young researcher from UFS on SAYAS executive committee
2014-10-28



Dr Aliza le Roux
Photo: Sonia Small
Dr Aliza le Roux from the Department of Zoology and Entomology on the UFS’s Qwaqwa Campus is one of ten young scientists who was recently inaugurated as a new member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Not only was she inducted into the society this past October, but she was also elected to serve on the executive committee for SAYAS.

Dr Le Roux’s research focus is on cognitive ecology, behavioural ecology and zoology. She has expressed her excitement about the new position, and is already developing new ideas with her new colleagues on drawing more young people into the South African scientific community.

This position provides a regional and international platform to raise the profile of science in general, and Le Roux hopes to be active in SAYAS’s new mentorship collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences, and to introduce new methods of scientific outreach using social media. Inspired by the students on the Qwaqwa Campus, Dr Le Roux hopes to specifically target relatively isolated rural campuses in SAYAS’s activities.

Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS, said, “Aliza le Roux is an outstanding young scientist on our Qwaqwa Campus. I am very excited about the young researchers on our Qwaqwa Campus with Aliza as one of the leaders, and I am looking forward to what else they can achieve in the next five years.”

SAYAS was launched in October 2011 with 20 founding members as a mechanism to propel South Africa’s young scientists to fully participate in relevant local and international research and development agendas. It provides a national platform where leading young scholars from all disciplines in the country can interact, and also access international networking and career development opportunities.

SAYAS contributes primarily to the achievement of the national strategic priority of strengthening the skills and human-resource base of the country. Its particular niche is to focus on strengthening high-level skills among young scientists and the promotion of scientific excellence.


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