Emmarentia Residents Association info@era.org.za (000) 111-1111

Residents join with City Parks on October 20

If you’ve been to the dog walking section of the Johannesburg Botanical
Gardens in Emmarentia since 20 October you might have noticed big piles of
trees and branches that have been cut down, the outflow at the top dam flowing
freely and piles of weeds that have been cleared.

That was
the result of the hard work of almost 100 people that dug up or poisoned
invasive alien plants, cleared a clogged up dam and removed litter and dog poop
on October 20. Moth-catchers, bugweeds, privets, verbenas, thistles, pickerel
weed and yellow flag irises were the team’s targets.

It was a
joint effort organised by Emmarentia Residents Association’s (ERA)
environmental committee and City Parks which “exceeded all our expectations”,
says Tony Cross, a member of ERA’s environmental committee.

City
Parks workers and contract workers employed by City Parks sacrificed their
Saturday and worked with volunteers who are regular users of the park as well
as high school kids from Roosevelt Park High, Parktown Girls and Greenside
High.

“I’m not
doing this for community service points, I’m doing this because it’s important
to get involved”, said one schoolgirl.

Volunteers
provided dog walkers with plastic bags and encouraged them to clean up after
their pets.

Generous businesses

Huge thanks go to
Emmarentia/Greenside shops and businesses for their generosity in supporting
the day. Eastern Temptations’ cash donation enabled us to buy 10 pairs of
gardening gloves and other gardening equipment, while Barney’s Paints
discounted the tools so that the cash went further.

The
balance of the cash was used to print booklets that ERA produced specially to
guide team leaders on how to distinguish invasive alien plants from indigenous
look-alikes.

Thanks
also go to Greenside Animal Hospital (for poop scoops), Jetline Greenside for
printing posters and Cake Works for surgical gloves.

Some
residents paid for their gardeners to be there; ERA sponsored 10 workers from
Ward 88’s Let’s Work Team while Jozi Trails funded two workers from the Klein
Jukskei Greenbelt Initiative who chainsawed invasive trees and shrubs solidly
for four hours.

But lots
more work still needs to be done. Invasive alien plants use much more water
than indigenous plants and edge them out of the environment.