Reforestation education in Cape Town, South Africa

Fanny Fennimore '14, Intern

Major: Environmental Studies

Internship Sponsor: Greenpop, Cape Town, South Africa

Concentration: Environment and Development

Greenpop is a reforestation education NGO in Cape Town, South Africa. The organization works in lower-income communities at schools and creches in the township areas outside of the city. In the 2.5 years since its founding, Greenpop has planted over 23,000 trees in 245 locations - benefitting over 100,000 people by planting fruit and indigenous trees at no cost.

While planting the trees, the organization runs educational games and question/answer segments with the children who help with each project. These educational programs focus on sustainability issues and solutions, as well as, explain how planting trees is good for our environment, nourishment, and happiness. I was specifically involved with the plant days and the educational department of Greenpop.

Outside of the educational programs facilitated on-site, I was also in charge of researching and creating an educational "Green Guide" to be distributed to schools in the area. This "Green Guide" explained how to implement various green projects: recycling, saving water and energy, composting, gardening, worm farming, and mulching. It provided information on how to do each project, where area supplies could be found, and for what price, and various people, places, books and websites where information could be found.

I also helped facilitate a series of 3 educational workshops for teachers from previous Greenpop beneficiaries. These workshops focused on similar green projects but were run on an interactive level with the goal of sharing and collecting local knowledge of each subject.

I attended as many plant days as possible, helping with the educational games, organizing supplies and general oversight to see that each tree was planted properly. I learned, quite well, the best methods for planting certain trees - how to protect them from wind, ensure higher moisture levels, increase soil nutrients and essentially create the best environment for each tree to fully prosper. I learned a lot about how to implement various sustainable projects while creating a series of information "Green Guides" for area schools and teachers.

I experienced a very different culture from my own and gained insight into the changed and unchanged aspects of South Africa's economic, social and political history.