“Plant quicker than what they can chop down. That is all we can do.”

Jason Schäffer with some of the trees to be planted this weekend.

Schoemansville resident, Hannelie Warren and a group of fellow residents have embarked on an initiative to plant indigenous trees in the Magaliesberg Mountain where woodchoppers are desecrating the mountain by chopping down trees for firewood.

“For years, we have been listening to the chainsaws going, knowing age-old trees are disappearing. Numerous attempts have been made to chase away the woodchoppers and stop people from buying the firewood along our roads, but to no avail. Our ecosystem is already so fragile, we have to protect it at all cost,” Hannelie says.

The idea of replacing the chopped down trees was born and together with Jason Schäffer, Hannelie started working on realising this. Jason started a tree nursery on his property, and when Sittigs Nursery heard about the initiative, they sponsored a variety of indigenous trees to be replanted in the mountain. More trees are needed, and residents are requested to assist with the initiative. “We are not going to change anything overnight. We will have to work continuously and consistently, tree for tree. We need conservation organisations and stakeholders to join us and assist. Only if we stand together, can we succeed in saving our mountain.

“Our idea was initially to make it a community fun outing. Pack a picnic and plant a tree, but the reality is that it is not so easy and safe. Criminals lurk in the mountain, trapping wild animals and dogs and a group of people will have to work together to realise the initiative,” she says.

“We now need residents who feel passionate about the destruction of our mountain to join us and help restock our mountain. The first rain has fallen, and we need to start immediately.”

The first planting session will take place this Sunday. Interested parties are urged to join the group at 07:00 at Wimpy Schoemansville from where they will move into the mountain behind the Hartbeespoort High School to plant the first 50 trees. Bring along a hat and 5 litres of water.
For more information, contact 072 985 4065.

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