Union Celebrates Arbor Day

Union Celebrates Arbor Day

Union High School celebrated Arbor Week on Monday 3 September. At an outdoor assembly, three Grade 9 learners led the devotion and spoke about the tree that was planted, the White Stinkwood Celtis Africana unVumvu, Witstinkhout.

Arbor Day originated in 1872 in the United States territory of Nebraska. Mr J. Sterling Morton, a newcomer to the treeless plains of Nebraska, was a keen proponent of the beauty and benefit of trees. He persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees and through his position as editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper, encouraged participation in the event by publishing articles on the value of trees for soil protection, fruit, shade and building.

Mr Morton’s home, known as Arbor Lodge, was a testament to his love for trees and so inspired the name of the holiday; Arbor Day. Within two decades Arbor Day was celebrated in every US State and territory, and eventually spread around the world. The tradition continues annually in the second week of August, in global acknowledgment of Mr. Morton’s slogan, “other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.”

In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognized the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. As sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty, trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities. Collective enthusiasm for the importance of this issue in South Africa inspired the national government, in 1999, to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week. From 1 to 7 September every year, schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in community “greening” events to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and propose a green future for South Africa.

The bible reading was read by Thando Matotie who chose Luke 6 verses 43-45.
A Tree and Its Fruit
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Hlumisa Kalipa then led the assembly in prayer, and Michael-Joe Newton spoke about the White Stinkwood and why it is an appropriate tree to plant at our school. This indigenous deciduous tree grows up to 7-12m and is frost tolerant and hardy. It attracts many birds like rameron pigeons, willow warblers, black-eyed bulbuls, mousebirds and crested barbets which feed on the fruits and disperse the seeds. This tree is a haven for insects. The root system is not aggressive.

The tree was planted on the pavement outside of the Bruce Maree Gates in Caledon Street and will add tremendous value to our campus and will bring joy to many for years to come.