Approximately 200 people participated in the Arbor Day festivities at the Lulekani Community Hall where residents from the greater Phalaborwa area celebrated arbor day on September 11, 2009.
Rio Tinto, the Palabora Foundation and the Kruger to Canyons Birding Route hosted the event aimed at creating a better understanding and greater awareness of the importance of trees in our environment. The Limpopo department of education catered for all attendants to the event, which included all thirteen Eco Schools in the Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality. The Kruger to Canyons Birding Route donated 30 indigenous trees to the participating Eco Schools, which will be planted on their premises during the next few weeks.
“The Route has been involved in a long-term environmental education programme with the Eco Schools and will be including global climate change and carbon footprint mitigation as new modules to the existing programme” says Project Manager Brenden Pienaar. Whilst promoting tourism the route is also committed to ensuring that it does not have a negative impact on the environment.
Arbor Day was initially proposed by Sterling Morton in 1854, a journalist and newspaper editor, who particularly loved trees and lived near the Nebraska Territories in the United States of America. Succeeding the Arbor Day proposition at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture, a tree planting holiday was proclaimed in 1872 and the celebrations soon spread around the world.
In recent times the destruction of natural vegetation by human activities has contributed to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
The destruction of vegetation reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere and contributes to global climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. The carbon dioxide is therefore trapped in the roots and stem of trees, thereby sequestrating the excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In light of these events, the best time to plant a tree was actually sixty three years ago, but the next best time to plant a tree is now.