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.
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.