The 4855 guests who booked our recent Summer of ‘21 package – a celebration of Spier Hotel’s 21st birthday – have raised a whopping R44 520 for Tree-preneurs, through contributing R21 per room per night.
Tree-preneurs, who live in some of the Western Cape’s most impoverished areas, are given seedlings to nurture. Once these trees have reached a certain length, they can be traded for vouchers to purchase essentials such as food, clothing and hygiene products. Spier teamed up with Wildlands Conservation Trust to launch Tree-preneurs in the Western Cape in 2009, providing it with a base on the farm from which to operate, as well as free water and electricity. The project has helped to improve the lives of more than 310 Tree-preneurs in 12 communities through the bartering of over 1 million trees.
Primed for growth
The R44 520 raised by our hotel guests will go towards providing pruning packs to 50 Tree-preneurs. The packs feature pruning shears, gloves, as well as a caring kit containing steel wool, sandpaper, clean cloths and lubricant to ensure the equipment can be kept in excellent condition. The money will also enable the purchasing of sharpening stones and additional pruning saws and blades for seven Tree-preneur community ambassadors.
The pruning packs will be very helpful when propagating new plants from small cuttings. Using a sharp bladed secateur or garden hand pruner ensures a perfect, clean cut and prevents the tearing or damaging of the mother plant. They will be useful when it comes to large plants too: pruning of bigger trees enhances their growth and health, and ensures that they become stronger and more resilient.
“The amount that has been raised is truly a blessing,” says Tree-preneurs Project Manager Lesley Joemat, a Spier employee.“Pruning equipment is expensive and, till now, has been inaccessible for our Tree-preneurs. Proper pruning equipment to a tree is like a healthy heart to a human, so I am delighted that we are able to purchase these pruning packs. They will enhance the quality and lifespan of our trees and increase the likelihood that both plants and people will thrive in their environment and communities.”
Lesley has built a strong personal relationship with the growers. When she’s not out visiting them to distribute seedlings, containers, soil and compost, and advice on growing trees, she’s busy running the Tree-preneurs nursery at Spier, home to over 23,000 trees, plants and succulents. Many of the trees and plants are planted in disadvantaged areas in the Stellenbosch region which are in need of greening. They are donated to schools, NGOs, churches and used to rehabilitate the Plankenbrug River and Dwars River.