The power of collaboration: #greeningcecilia

Written by Catherine Clulow

We wanted to share this inspiring story to encourage action and involvement in making a difference, because each and every one of us can.

Earlier this year, a BotSoc member, Paul Cartmel contacted The Botanical Society of South Africa with an exciting idea. Here’s the overview of his story: he decided the traffic and commute to work was not all that pleasant and took up cycling to work when feasible. Somewhere along the line he had a thought to track his travel and put aside R1/km to give back to the environment, another individual sponsored him as well. The long and the short of it, this small initiative landed Paul with a few thousand rands which he then offered to donate to the BotSoc to be directed at planting trees in the Cecilia Forest area, an area Paul and friends and family particularly enjoy frequenting.

Paul Cartmel, BotSoc member: “ With global population growth being an exponential problem, we need exponential solutions. Raising funds for this initiative as a Capetonian was a no-brainer, as a nature lover it’s great to give back and we hope to inspire others to contribute to the solutions too. It’s exciting to be active, to get a feel for and be involved in the tree planting and I look forward to showing my children these trees one day.”

And it’s that simple, that’s how it all started. One keen member, one individual with an idea and passion and the initiative spiraled from there. BotSoc engaged with Table Mountain National Park, who manage the area, and planning began. Further funds were donated to the cause and partners and volunteers came on board to join in.

Reliance Compost donated compost and some trees. Funds were used to purchase over 600 indigenous trees, mainly from the Kirstenbosch production nursery, but others were received from the Reliance nursery as well as another local nursery.

Great people, partnerships and passion made it all possible and on Wednesday 22 June 2016 over 60 individuals from different organisations and walks of life came together and worked side by side to plant over 600 indigenous trees in the Cecilia Forest area of the Table Mountain National Park.

Anthony Hitchcock, Nursery Manager and horticulturist at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden: “Great to be working with SANParks and BotSoc to restore the natural vegetation on the slopes of Table Mountain.”

Staff members from SANParks; BotSoc; SANBI Kirstenbosch;  Reliance Compost;  New Media Labs; together with volunteers from Miss Earth South Africa; friends and family members and even some hikers who stumbled upon the event, worked together planting trees for the future. Dirty hands, smiling faces, warmed hearts were all evident in that valley and that’s the power of collaboration.

Restoring the area to its original vegetation composition of Fynbos and forest and the clearing of alien invasive  trees such as gums and pines are an ongoing focus of the SANParks teams. Initiatives such as this lend a helping hand towards making a difference. I think this was an awesome project, don’t you?

If you’ve been inspired by this story, please share it with  others too and consider following our blog. To find out how you too can become a BotSoc member, click here, we’d love to have you join the BotSoc family.

The BotSoc mission reads below and this initiative speaks directly to fulfilling it.

BotSoc’s mission: To win the hearts, minds and material support of individuals and organisations, wherever they may be, for the conservation, cultivation, study and wise use of the indigenous flora and vegetation of southern Africa, for the benefit and sharing of all.

This project also links directly to Targets of the South African National Strategy for Plant Conservation  and we are so proud of working in collaboration with others in support of achieving these goals. Read more about the National Strategy for Plant Conservation here.

We hope this story brightened your day and inspires you too to take action for the environment.

Until next time…



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The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) are an NGO conserving and educating about biodiversity for over 100 years.

2 thoughts on “The power of collaboration: #greeningcecilia”

  1. If this project is still on the go, I’d love to get involved in the planting. Please let me know how to get hold of the organisers? Thanks!


    1. Hi Candice, thanks for your interest. This was a particular event but the restoration of the area is ongoing, I’d suggest contacting SANParks, as they manage the area, if interested in getting involved or perhaps the Friends of Tokai group.


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