As part of its Plant Rescue Open Day initiative to promote indigenous gardening and support biodiversity, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) rolled out the plant rescue initiative to Coega Primary School on Tuesday, 24 August 2021.
Coega Primary School partook in the plant rescue day to establish an indigenous garden at their school in Wells Estate, Gqeberha.
As part of the site clearance for a new investor within the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ), learners collected plants from the development site located in Zone 2 of the Coega SEZ.
“We’re very excited to have been part of this initiative to rescue and preserve indigenous plants.
“In addition, we hope the initiative has equipped the young ones with the skills and knowledge regarding the understanding of our ecosystem and how to ensure that we preserve it, and the impact of deforestation, replanting trees, and the important role in cleaning up our atmosphere”, said Mr Vuyani Mbombela, Head-Master: Coega Primary School.
The plant rescue activities comprised of an introduction to the Albany Thicket vegetation type, learning about plant rescue principles and indigenous gardens, guidance on establishing their school garden, and information on City Sustainability and Climate Change.
Topsoil was also trucked in from a development site to establish a good base of nutrients for the plants prior to the rescue operation.
“The development of the 9003 ha Coega SEZ is guided by a wide range of best practice environmental management mechanisms. Prior to the development of any site in the Coega SEZ, a search and rescue operation is undertaken where plants to be rescued are identified and relocated to the Coega Conservation areas and for landscaping the Coega SEZ.
“Thereafter, plants are made available to the public for collection and personal use”, said Graham Taylor, CDC Trade Facilitation Manager.
The initiative sought to enhance a broader understanding of being responsible citizens and have a positive impact on nature, and see learners go on in life to become Botanists and starting their gardens.
Graham Taylor highlighted that the “CDC Search and Rescue programme” is of conservation importance. Plants, such as indigenous Aloe Africana, Portulacaria afra (Spekboom) and Sansevieria hyacinthoides (Mother in Laws tongue) that are removed when the ground is cleared for new development in the SEZ, are rescued and used in rehabilitation of identified areas in the Coega Open Space.
“Additionally, plants are held in the Coega Nursery and made available for landscaping when required”.
The CDC City Sustainability Initiative is a corporate social responsibility project aimed at leveraging the benefits of the Coega SEZ green infrastructure approach into the broader Nelson Mandela Bay region.
The project is managed through the Coega Development Foundation (CDF), a registered Non-Profit Company for socio-economic development initiatives, which includes the establishment of the Coega Thematic Interpretive Centre.