30 August 2006

South Africa: Minister to Launch Arbor Week

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is to highlight the importance of trees and their key role towards sustaining livelihoods, as the Department observes this year's Arbor Week from 1-7 September.

Minister Lindiwe Hendricks, will officially launch the campaign under the theme "Plant a Tree, Grow our Future" at the Johannesburg Zoo, Friday.

The campaign seeks to ensure the maintenance of forests in the country and to ensure the long-term sustainability of resources.

"We will also highlight the vital interdependence between the economy and our forest resources," said Ms Hendricks.

She said the Department wanted to develop a South African society across the demographic spectrum that was aware of forestry related issues and was taking responsibility for it.

The event will be attended by approximately 3 500 learners from 32 schools in Gauteng and North West.

The learners will participate in a tree-planting ceremony and will be given seeds and trees to plant at their own schools.

This is a joint initiative by the Department and fuel company Total South Africa, to educate the country's youth about the importance of planting trees

Arbor Week is an annual awareness campaign in which thousands of South Africans in urban and rural areas celebrate by planting trees in schools, parks, churches, gardens and street to herald the beginning of spring.

The campaign is a platform for highlighting opportunities for sustainable economic development, poverty alleviation through job creation and community participation.

In addition, the event is part of the department's campaign for Greening South Africa that seeks to accelerate the greening of areas such as townships.

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