Friends of the Haenertsburg Grasslands (FroHG) organized a massive clean-up of the surrounding grasslands and the slopes of the Kantoorspruit on Saturday. Some twenty volunteers from Appel school at Westfalia, Tzaneen Eco Club and locals mucked in for four hours and collected more than fifty strong black rubbish bags of litter as well as several old tyres. The volunteers were well watered with supplies from Minki’s and local Ms Lindsey Sanderson prepared snacks.

It was a day three young Appel school pupils will never forget. First they dropped an old rusty tin. On asking, they said that there were spiders inside and they were scared of them. They were made to get over their fear with the words, “They’re more scared of you, so just carry it.”

Then the same trio headed down the slope towards the river where there was a considerable amount of rubbish. Suddenly, and in unison, they dropped their black bags and ran at speed up the slope slapping their heads. They’d found a disused tyre and upon trying to remove it, unleashed a swarm of bees. The one youngster was so fearful that he first threw off his jacket and then ran clean out of his shoes and continued in his socks.

The litter included plastic, tins, bottles, paper wrappings, old car mats, shoes, wire, a tattered pair of jeans and a fine pair of snazzy sunglasses. It was an ideal time for a clean-up while the critically endangered grasslands lie dormant with large parts having been burnt.

It was also easy to spot alien plants before the beautiful spring flora of the grasslands emerge into new life. Secateurs and loppers sorted out much of the alien vegetation. Local Ms Frances McComb sponsored a chain saw team for the larger aliens and Mr Stefan Kühne from Westfalia took on the onerous task of poisoning the aliens. Besides wattles and bugweed there’s also an invasion of the thorny honey locust tree (gleditsia triacanthos), native to North America.
The morning ended with The Red Plate sponsoring a well-deserved lunch on the sunny restaurant deck.



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