Greenpop is one of Go2Africa’s Positive Impact partners in environmental projects and an award-winning, non-profit organisation headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. Founded in 2010, Greenpop works to restore ecosystems and empower environmental stewards through forest restoration, urban greening, food gardening, and environmental awareness projects across Sub-Saharan Africa. They have planted over 175,000 trees and inspired over 132,000 active citizens across South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
On the 29th of July 2022, a group of Go2Africa’s staff members attended a planting day that forms part of Greenpop’s Fynbos for the Future urban greening programme. The vision for Fynbos for the Future is to inspire a green urban future in which biodiversity is accessible, valued, and protected by active, engaged, and inspired citizens. The core objective is to provide interactive fynbos learning spaces in under-greened schools.
Fynbos for the Future
Fynbos is a distinctive type of vegetation found only on the southern tip of Africa. It includes a wide range of plant species, particularly small heather-like trees and shrubs. Fynbos is known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity and comprises about 80% of the Cape floral kingdom.
When selecting Positive Impact initiatives to support, Greenpop emerged as a top candidate for Go2Africa’s Conservation Committee. Their vision and efforts go well beyond just putting trees into the ground, and the emphasis is on making trees count rather than simply counting trees. For this reason, Greenpop is engaged in a wide variety of activities.
In addition to the reforestation work being done as part of their Forests for Life programme, their work to protect and restore ecosystems also covers Food Gardening, Environmental Awareness, and Urban Greening which houses the Fynbos for the Future project. This project is aimed at reconnecting the youth in traditionally marginalised communities with the environment and their natural heritage.
This project was originally focused on trees but was later updated to focus on water-wise plants that were better suited to the area, and in doing so, rebuilding historical biome linkages – which is where fynbos entered the picture.
A Blooming Partnership with Greenpop
Go2Africa’s planting day took place at Highlands Primary School in Woodlands, situated alongside Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town. After arriving at 09:00, Go2Africa’s staff were treated to an icebreaker with the kids on the playground.
Greenpop’s Urban Greening Manager, Deon Louw, facilitated the day alongside a small group of interns. Deon played a pivotal role in the entire experience. He is chock-full of passion and knowledge, and very good at ensuring that the ice gets broken through introducing some playful and fun games.
Everyone then split off into three groups, with a mixture of adults and kids in each, and went to the different activities:
- Planting fynbos
- 'Fynbos Bingo' or citizen science
- Rock painting
Go2Africa and the kids from Highlands ended up putting 87 plants into the ground on the day. The kids’ enthusiasm was electric – they’d found themselves deep in the soil bed area and onto the next plant totally forgetting to watch their steps on the one they just did!
'Fynbos Bingo' was fascinating, as Deon spoke through all the different varieties of plants that were present in an engaging format. First half of the allocated time was spent understanding the individual plants and how they fit into the wider ecosystem, and then the second half was playing ‘bingo’ using this new-found knowledge to identify plants.
Finally, the painting 'station' was a place for the kids to work hard at ensuring there would be a stern word at home later that day – more paint ended up on the ground sheet and on a very enthusiastic ten-year-old than it did on the rocks that were being painted to beautify the garden!
The entire experience played out over the course of a few far-too-short hours. It was a deeply humbling and gratifying opportunity for Go2Africa to get plugged into our core value of 'We Conserve'. We can’t wait to participate in more planting days with Greenpop!