Our local newspaper, Zoutpansberger, recently partnered with the Baobab Foundation, to launch a school project to boost the region’s wild baobab population. Coined the Baobab Champion competition, more than 230 baobab starter-kits with 15 seeds each inside, were distributed to participating pupils of 4 local schools. That amounts to 3450 potential new Baobab trees for South Africa!
Let’s create a Culture of Caring
“As part of the foundation’s vision to create a Culture of Caring, we would like to instill the importance of planting trees in young people. Baobabs are great for this purpose because they germinate easily and grow fast. If we can start protecting baobabs and plant them, we begin protecting habitats and biodiversity, paying it forward to our children’s children,” explains Dr Sarah Venter, the founder of the Baobab Foundation.
One of the mayor reasons why new baobab numbers are dwindling is because of more peri-urban development. With more villages comes more livestock such as goats. There are more game in nature reserves lately too. These animals all eat the young baobab trees and put immense pressure on the land.
You can still see YOUR Baobab in 4022!
Dr Venter shared her knowledge with the children at each participating school and then all the competing children were handed a baobab-planting starter kit with an explanation what would be expected of them in the coming months.
Besides being fun outdoors, it also creates a sense of satisfaction and pride for the children to be able to say, “I have grown my own Baobab trees … a symbol of our local environment, a source of livelihoods and enjoyment for us all in hundreds of years to come”.
What is in the box?
Included in each starter kit are five planting bags; a sachet containing 15 baobab seeds (three seeds per planting bag, as not all seeds germinate); a booklet with information about baobabs and five tags to identify each planting bag for data recording and record keeping.
How does it work?
The children and schools will be evaluated on how many seeds they are able to germinate, who is able to grow the most trees and who has the tallest trees after a specific period. At the end of the year, the finalists from each school will be invited for an all-expenses-paid trip to Big Tree at Sagole (near Tshipise) – the biggest and oldest baobab tree in the world.
“The excitement for all the schools’ kids was contagious,” says Zoutpansberger’s editor Andries van Zyl, “It gives one hope to see that today’s children care about the legacy they leave behind for our planet. We wish for this ‘culture of caring’ to spread far and wide with each of these 3450 seeds given to our children!”.