Community service day in Tokai Arboretum

Friends of Tokai Park members with their gifts and tools, Richard Whiteing, Margaret Kahle, Tony Rebelo and Vard Aman.

About 180 Westerford High School pupils visited the Tokai Arboretum last week.

The Grade 11 pupils split into groups with Friends of Tokai Park to work on different activities in the arboretum.

They worked on creating a cellphone app of species of interest; tree mapping; alien clearing and path maintenance and cleaning around Listers tea room.

The overall favourite project was alien clearing. Friends member Margaret Kahle said it was not easy as many of the acacias had coppiced.

Richard Whiteing, another Friends member, said they showed the pupils the tools they use and then explained how alien plants suck up water.

A grade rep Dylan Fanner said it had been a big honour to be among the first groups to go into the arboretum since the veldfire of March 2015.

Berta van Rooyen said finding the trees to plot them was not easy as some were destroyed in the fire and others had no labels. The map they were using dated from 1989 and she said the present tree mapping project was lacking a copy of the 1999/2000 map, drawn up by Michael Fowkes.

“He passed away and efforts to find the map have had no success. If anyone has a copy of the map, could they contact me,” said Ms Van Rooyen.

If you have a map of trees in the Tokai Arboretum or would like to join their alien clearing groups, contact Berta van Rooyen at 072 474 0608.