A number of schoolchildren learned about the importance of greening the environment through the planting of trees on Arbour Day at the Johannesburg Zoo.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo invited nine schools from across the city to join them for the educational day.
Senior environmental specialist at the zoo Nathi Mvula said Arbour Day was celebrated internationally every year during September as declared by the United Nations.
“The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about trees and the importance of greening the environment,” said Mvula.
The children took part in a number of activities related to the theme Trees for Bees including poetry, drama and freestyle dance. Teachers were also given trees which they could plant with their learners at their schools.
Key stakeholders including Pikitup, Joburg Water, the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and a number of other stakeholders set up stalls at the zoo where they educated children about caring for the environment.
Nonhlanhla Matrose of Pikitup educated youngsters about the compulsory separation at source project launched in July and stressed the importance of recycling.
Water quality facilitator Sizwe Mndawe of the Water Wise Education Team at Rand Water spoke to the children about how to be water-wise at home.
Grade 5 and 6 teacher Martha Ndaba of Ekukhanyisweni Primary School in Alexandra said this was a special opportunity for the disadvantaged children at her school.
“The learners are so happy to get an outing because their parents can’t afford to pay,” she said. “This is the first time that many of them are visiting the zoo and I am hoping it will be a wonderful outing where they can learn more about animals that they have only ever seen on TV.”
Learner Kwanele Tsoeu of Ekukhanyisweni Primary said, “I am excited to see the animals and learn about the environment today. I have never heard of Arbour Day before.”
Schools including Emaweni Primary, Riverlea Primary, Ekukhanyisweni Primary, Qhakazani Primary, Inkululeko Yesizwe School, Winnie Ngwekazi Primary, Kempton Park Primary, Molalatladi Primary and Sekwai Primary were invited to attend the day.