There’s nothing we love more than celebrating Mother Nature in all her glory, and what better way to show a little gratitude than by getting your hands dirty during Arbor Week?
Apart from being crazy committed to creating our BOS rooibos hot and ice tea flavours, we’re also dedicated to giving back to the planet. After all, without the Cederberg’s unique ecosystem, our rooibos tea wouldn’t exist! It’s why we do more than talk – we take action to preserve this wonder plant and all other green things for future generations.
Here’s a look at why we celebrate Arbor Week in South Africa, along with a few ways you can also jump in and take action.
What Is Arbor Week?
The smell of blossoming flowers and warmer weather are made that much sweeter thanks to the start of Arbor Week, which takes place from 1-7 September. This special time encourages South Africans from all walks of life to plant indigenous trees. With countless greening initiatives taking place across the country, the government’s goal of planting 10 million trees by 2026 may become a reality.
While spring may conjure images of brightly coloured flowers and chirping birds, the change in season is also symbolic of transformation and hope. And there’s nothing more transformative or hopeful than doing our part by contributing to a greener future for both South Africans and the rest of the world.
A Quick History Lesson
South Africa’s Arbor Week finds its roots in another part of the world – Nebraska, United States. Arbor Day in the US sprouted from the imagination of J Sterling Morton who rallied his fellow Nebraskans in order to plant an abundance of trees.
The first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1872. Since then, several countries around the world have adopted this holiday as a way to celebrate and show their appreciation for the role that trees play in our environment.
The idea reached the shores of South Africa in the 1970s when a real need to promote trees was recognised – better late than never! The event has grown in leaps and bounds with South Africans loving the idea so much that we decided to extend one day to a full week.
Why Is Arbor Week Important?
Here’s the simple answer: Arbor Week is important because trees are important. Arbor Week helps shine a spotlight on the vital role trees play in our lives and aims to educate humans on the importance of keeping our environment as lush and green as possible while emphasising urban and rural greening initiatives.
Climate change is a growing problem that world governments have done their best to tackle. With temperatures in South African cities expected to rise, trees will play an even more important role in cooling urban spaces. National Arbor Week is the perfect time to highlight this, and it’s a way to encourage South Africans to learn more about indigenous trees and appreciate the role they play in our environment.
We know why we love trees, but here’s why should you be writing a love letter to them:
- With the urban population in Africa expected to double by 2050, making trees an even bigger component in combating climate change is essential to avoiding soaring temperatures.
- We all know that trees produce the oxygen we breathe, but they also help purify the air and absorb carbon monoxide. Without this, life on our planet would not be possible.
- Trees have a hand in stabilising soil erosion and increasing water infiltration while adding nutrients to the soil. Even decomposing tree leaves have a hand in enriching our soil, which is all good news for the agricultural land.
- The world we live in can be a stressful place, so it helps to have plenty of trees around since spending quality time with them can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve your mood.
Clearly, they’re far more than just a nice to have.
Our Favourite Ways to Celebrate Arbor Week
While annual events such as Earth Day have been around for decades, their relevance today has never been more important, making Arbor Week crucial in offering communities the opportunity to get involved in investing in a greener and sustainable future.
Here are a few ways you can get involved:
Plant a Tree
The best way you can join in on the celebration is by looking in your own backyard. Head to your local plant nursery and pick out your favourite indigenous tree before finding a spot in your garden and commemorating the occasion with a tree-planting ceremony. This is a fantastic way to get the kids involved and teach them about the importance of trees, and it really is magical to watch a sapling grow into a healthy tree.
Which trees to plant?
Since 1996, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has identified two Trees of the Year. One common indigenous tree and another rare tree in need of protection. For 2022, the MVTrees are the pompon tree (Dais cotinifolia) and African wattle (Peltophorum africanum).
We’d also like to give spekboom an honorable mention. Although not a Tree of the Year 2022 candidate (it was last year), we reckon it’s still praise-worthy. Directly translated, spekboom (Portulacaria afra) means “bacon tree”, which is appropriate since its leaves are a great source of hydration. Traditionally, it’s believed munching on the leaves increases breastfeeding moms’ milk. Other uses include applying crushed leaves as an antiseptic to sunburn, rashes, and pimples.
Many interesting recipes containing the plant have popped up, such as Getaway’s spekboom and blueberry smoothie. We recommend substituting the water for rooibos ice tea for added health benefits. Our Berry Rooibos Ice Tea promises to enhance an already berrylicious drink.
Sponsor a Tree
Planting a tree in your backyard may not be possible for everyone, so why not commemorate this occasion by donating a tree to your favourite tree-planting organisation or a local school in need of a little greenery? Greenpop and Save Our Planet are just two of the many incredible non-profit organisations making it their mission to green communities. If one week isn’t enough, they also offer volunteering opportunities throughout the year.
Join Greenpop’s Next Reforest Fest
Save the date for the next Reforest Fest, a tree planting celebration for the whole family. In 2023, it’s set to run from 7 to 10 April at Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat in the Overberg. For more info and to pre-register, visit the official website.
Drinking lots of BOS Ice Tea not only leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world, but also helps support sustainable urban greening and forest restoration projects. BOS has been a proud supporter of Greenpop and their treevolution since 2010, and with every 2000 units of BOS Ice Tea sold, we purchase and plant a tree. So far, nearly 30 000 trees have been planted, with plenty more on the way – so drink up!
We’ve also received the Rainforest Alliance seal for all our hot tea products. It’s a testament to the fact that we prioritise the future health of our planet and people.
Keen to Do Your Part for the Planet with BOS Ice Tea?
Planting trees is thirsty work. Quench your thirst with one of our good-for-you-and-the-planet teas. Visit our online shop to browse for your BOS beverage of choice.