30 volunteers spring-clean the grasslands around Haenertsburg

POLOKWANE – On Saturday 15 September, 30 enthusiastic volunteers joined forces to spring-clean the grasslands around Haenertsburg.

Dr. Stefan Koehne from FroHG explains:

“What was once a vast haven for indigenous flora and fauna, has been reduced to a few remaining small patches of Woodbush Granite Grassland (WGG), the largest of which, about 190 ha, encloses Haenertsburg.”

In 2011, the WGG ecosystem was declared critically endangered and now enjoys formal protection.

“To state it bluntly, it not only means that this is the last place on earth where one could enjoy this specific ensemble of vegetation, but also that it faces an extremely high risk of irreversible transformation. It is for this reason that FroHG serves as custodian of the WGG and that the group of volunteers gladly set aside their Saturday to scrabble around for rubbish.”

The day kicked off with refreshments served at the Haenertsburg library, organised by Joan Provis, a senior citizen in the village who is remarkably involved in community and FroHG matters. Volunteers were then briefed on the day’s task by Quentin Hagens (vice-chair of FroHG). Eight sectors were identified to which teams were dispatched.

It was exciting to follow the progress the various teams made in the field, through their photos and comments on WhatsApp during the day. Bakkies piled with rubbish on the way to the dump, happy smiles as yet more bags were filled. And even time to record unexpected treats, like a beautiful Green Water Snake lurking in the grass among the first spring flowers seen by one of the volunteers.

Altogether, approximately 10 huge bulk bags were filled with rubbish, comprising a large range of different items: glass bottles, cans, plastic bags, building rubble, sweet wrappers, PVC pipes, old shoes, so many cigarette butts and even plastic bags filled with used nappies.

“The whole mission was a great success and served to reinforce the necessity of looking after our environment. It was wonderful to witness people from all walks of life come together with an environment-orientated goal in mind. Volunteers also arrived from the University of Limpopo (UL), Nobody and Mamotintane and were so enthused by their experience that they promptly became paid up members of FroHG.”

Dr Ali Halajian (Senior Researcher at UL) brought a few volunteers from schools around the University of Limpopo that actively participated and learned about nature conservation.

FroHG would like to thank all of the participants for donating their time and effort on Saturday and would like to acknowledge the Haenertsburg businesses, restaurants and residents who kindly supported the event. As 15 September is World Clean Up Day, FroGH could not have chosen a better day for our own environmental clean-up.

Contact details for anybody interested in FroHG activities or becoming a FroHG member:

Dr. Stefan Koehne: j.stefan.koehne@gmail.com or stefank@westfaliafruit.co.za or sms him at 083 702 8640.

maretha@nmgroup.co.za

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