At Communitree we need YOUR help to green Cape Town. We aim to contribute to the greening of Cape Town by involving the community (that includes YOU!) to grow plants and green the city. Are you keen to join us? Our winter programme for 2018 has various recurring events, in addition to ad-hoc events. The events focus on our priority sites, located roughly between Mowbray and Newlands, but we also have other events elsewhere. The recurring events are the following:
We have events for people from all backgrounds, levels of experience, capabilities, and interests. All our events, unless otherwise stated, are free of charge, and we try to have events that can be reached relatively easily with public transport or bicycle. We try to get everybody involved in gardening and public greening, and we need YOUR help! So join us now, and tell your friends and family about these events as well. Questions? Get in touch!
During gardening events, we go out to a public greening site and work on general maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep of the plot. These events are key in our activities and they have a huge public impact. By keeping (often formerly abandoned) plots in good shape, the public space often transforms from an eyesore and underused space to an inviting space.
During the gardening events we often work on chores like cutting back or removing grass, cleaning up the space (littering is often an issue), removing weeds, taking care of the plants, and improving the soil. You do not need any gardening experience to join these events. The only thing that really matters is your enthusiasm to participate in public gardening! But if you do have some equipment, always feel free to bring this along. Especially useful are:
- Garbage bags
During a training event, Communitree and friends help volunteers learn skills and acquire information they need to grow plants at home, to identify plants, know about the ecology, and to green in a responsible way. We hold different types of training events and workshops to try and cater to a wide audience.
Communitree organises home nursery workshops, in which we go over the process of setting up a home nursery, and we show how to plant seeds or cuttings and how to care for them. We hold these workshops ever first Saturday of the month. At the same time, we work with the team at the Habitat Restoration Unit at the City of Cape Town. This unit, located at Westlake Conservation Centre, has a wealth of knowledge on growing indigenous vegetation from seed or cutting, and we have different training opportunities here. Every Friday, our volunteers can join us for a "work and volunteer" session at the Westlake nursery, where we will help out at the nursery while learning about the plants and nursery management. Furthermore, special beginners training sessions are held every now and then in collaboration with the Habitat Restoration Unit, to teach about setting up a home nursery. Finally, Communitree collaborates with the Iingcungcu sunbird project and the Cape Bird Club to provide people with training on bird monitoring and identification. This is part of our monitoring programme.
During these events we bring plants that were grown at home nurseries in past months and plant them at our public greening sites. These special events take place once only a few times in the year, generally in the winter (rainy) season. During planting days, we can use all the help that we can get! You don't need to be an experienced gardener; this is for all levels and ages. If you have any equipment, like spades, gloves, or buckets, please do bring them along! But even without this, your participation is always valuable.
At Communitree we want to make sure that our work has a positive impact on the wider ecological functioning of the city's green infrastructure. That means that we want to go our and monitor our own work. We do this in different ways. One way is that we go out to our greening sites and we monitor the plants and the vegetation. We monitor for plant diseases, impact by the drought, damage to the plants, and other issues. If anything is wrong, our monitoring team will report this and our gardening volunteers will look into the matter. At the same time, we look for new plant growth, we try to observe the species that are present, and we see if everything is going according to the plan that we devised for the plot.
Another type of monitoring is related to the bird monitoring. By counting birds on our sites, we can get an idea of the ecological functioning of our plot. We are working together with the Iingcungcu sunbird project and the Cape Bird Club when it comes to training and bird monitoring, and we are excited to see what comes out of these efforts. To join bird monitoring work, you must have received some training, but we can always use an extra pair of eyes, in case you have not yet gone through the training.