Greenpeace Partners With Greenpop at Platbos Reforest Fest

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Feature story - June 4, 2014
"It's no secret that our planet is under a lot of stress, and good news about the environment can be pretty scarce at times. Greenpop's Reforest Fest is a fun, hands-on antidote to all that: a feel-good opportunity for us to reconnect with nature, give back, and recharge our commitment to the planet. I loved every second." - Michael Baillie, Greenpeace Head of Digital

Greenpeace is proud to announce its partnership with Greenpop at the 2014 Platbos Reforest Fest. Over the past two weekends, Greenpop hosted two successive Reforest Fests, at which hundreds of volunteers came together to plant 10 002 trees (and had fun doing it)! All told, 622 people planted a total of 10 002 trees over both weekends, bringing the total number of trees planted at the Platbos Forest Reserve to date to 18 243 by Greenpop through the Reforest Fests.

In addition to promoting the event extensively through their networks, Greenpeace also sent their Head of Digital Mike Baillie to speak at the event on how one can use one’s individual life choices to make the world a more sustainable place and get involved in environmental initiatives. In keeping with Greenpeace’s commitment to protecting the environment for the benefit of humans, our planet, and our future, Greenpeace supports initiatives like the Reforest Fest that bring people together to get active, rather than anxious, about the world we inhabit.

 The Forest:

Platbos is a unique combination of Afromontane forest, with Coastal Milkwood thicket forest species. The Afromontane trees include: white stinkwood (Celtis africana), wild peach (Kiggelaria africana), white pear (Apodytes dimidiata) and hard pears (Olinia ventosa). The Milkwood forest species include: milkwoods (Sideroxylon inerme), sea guarrie (Euclea racemosa) and pock ironwoods (Chionanthus foveolata) amongst others. There are 13 different forest tree species in total that make up the unique Platbos forest.

Less than 0.05% of the Western Cape is home to indigenous forest. In the past, Platbos extended over a much greater area but due to human interference (felling for agriculture and the later introduction of alien invasive tree species like rooi krans), the area of the forest was greatly reduced. The Platbos Forest Reserve covers 50 hectares in extent: in recognition of its unique and endangered status, Platbos has been awarded Contract Nature Reserve status with Cape Nature - a designation awarded to priority areas containing critically important habitats, which contain significant biodiversity value.

Platbos is an extremely unique forest and contributes enormously to conserving the last remnants of lowland forest in the Western Cape. Says Melissa Krige of the Platbos Forest Reserve, “People and forests share a common destiny - life as we know it depends on the continued existence of the world's old-growth forests. All attempts to protect and rehabilitate them are therefore of paramount importance. We greatly value the annual GreenPop Reforest Fests at Platbos, not only because of the huge contribution they bring to our Reforestation Project at Platbos, but because through them so many more people, from all walks of life, young and old, can come to learn about Platbos and to experience its unique and wonderful character.”

The Family Fest:

Greenpop opened this year’s Reforest Fest with the Family Fest, which welcomed 177 planters of all shapes and sizes to the forest from 9-11 May. After a delicious dinner around the campfire, most turned in for an early night under the crystalline stars in preparation for an early start to the Saturday plant day.

The next morning, all woke up early to eat breakfast and enjoy a morning yoga class led by Maree Mirkovic from Treestar Yoga at the forest’s 1008-year old milkwood tree before being divided into their teams and heading off to the plant site. With children doing activities, shoveling mulch, or scurrying off on adventures to find forest creatures - or a combination of the three - planters banded together with spades in hand and infants strapped to backs to plant 3000 indigenous trees in a matter of hours! After showering, washing up, and enjoying another delicious meal, all in attendance gathered beneath the forest canopy to dance the night away to the smooth sounds of DJ Pure Incense and live music by Zoe & Vusa from Zula Sound Bar, Pat McKay from Two Minute Puzzle, and Jamie Jupiter, not forgetting the great talent show put on by the children to start off the evening.

On the Sunday, while the children enjoyed a performance by Vinnie From Zok of the Jungle Theatre, parents enjoyed a set of talks, including a talk by Dr. Philip Sherwin on “the cause and cure of all diseases" and a presentation on the flow of water and Biomimicry by For Love of Water. Greenpop concluded the festival with a special Mother’s Day tree planting dedicated to Melissa Krige, bringing the ultimate total of indigenous trees planted at the Family Fest to 3001.

The Friends Fest:

After an extremely productive Family Fest, Greenpop returned to the forest to prepare for the sold-out Friends Fest, and from Friday began to welcome more than 400 guests to the forest. After setting up their tents and enjoying a leisurely dinner, guests gathered around the campfire to enjoy ghost stories and sing, drum, and dance the night away.

The next morning, after another revitalising yoga session by Maree, planters once again divided into teams and headed up to the plant site, where Francois could hardly deliver trees fast enough for the planters. By lunchtime, the five teams had planted 4500 trees, and after a quick lunch and an invigorating dance break to the tunes of DJ Lemonella, planted an additional 2501 by the time the sun had set. The following celebration lasted well into the night, as planters danced to the sounds of Simon van Gend, Zoe & Vusa, TouchWood, the Country Conquerors, and Grassy Spark and danced to DJs Kimon and Bobzyouruncle until the early hours.

On Sunday, some ambitious guests woke up for another yoga session with Maree, while others trickled into breakfast and into activities such as laughing yoga, forest walks with Francois, a doodle session by Night of 1000 Drawings, and hula-hoop workshops with the Psychedelic Theatre. Additionally, after enjoying an interactive presentation on the flow of water by Biomimicry SA, volunteers gathered to hear a speach by Greenpeace Head of Digital Michael Baillie on how they can make personal choices for a more sustainable planet and get involved in Greenpeace’s environmental initiatives. After a last lunch and walk through the forest, guests departed in the afternoon knowing that they had contributed to the biggest reforestation project that had ever taken place in Platbos Forest.

“The Reforest Fest was one of my favorite things I’ve done in my short time in South Africa. Like nothing else I’ve done here, this event brought together an incredibly special community of people who united for a common cause. I felt like we were doing something positive not just for the environment, but for the community of people that live in and enjoy that forest. It was a beautiful place filled with beautiful people united for a beautiful cause, and I couldn’t have asked for more from the weekend.”

 - Eli Bovarnick, Friends Fest 2014

“The most exciting thing about these events to me is the community that comes together to celebrate. The event has grown stronger, year on year in terms of numbers and trees planted. Being on the ground and getting active really makes me feel like we are part of a movement.

This wouldn't be possible without the amazing community of like-minded people coming together to make social and environmental change happen. The Platbos Reforest Fest is a highlight in the Greenpop calendar. We’re eager to see where else in South Africa we can partner to help rebuild ecosystems through collaboration, awareness and fun.”

- Misha Teasdale, Greenpop Tree E O

What’s Next:

In three weeks, Greenpop will welcome several dozen volunteers from all over the world to the Greenpop Village in Livingstone, Zambia for the third annual Trees for Zambia Festival of Action: a three-week tree-planting and eco-education project to take place from 15 June to 6 July. On the project, volunteers will plant trees, educate children, learn about environmental issues through a range of lectures and interactive workshops, enjoy brilliant live music, and explore this beautiful corner of Africa. For more information, all are welcome to email .

Additionally, for the first time Greenpop will bring the Reforest Fest to the Eastern Cape with the Hogsback Reforest Fest! From the 12-14 September 2014, Greenpop will be hosting another Reforest Fest at the Terra Khaya Lodge in the yellowwood forests of Hogsback in an attempt to restore and expand the home of the endangered Cape Parrot, of which there are only a few thousand left in the wild. All who attend can expect to plant thousands of trees, attend eco-workshops, do yoga in the forest, enjoy live music and delicious vegetarian meals, and visit the oldest yellowwood tree in the Eastern Cape!

About Greenpop:

Greenpop is on a mission to (re)connect people with our planet. They plant trees and have fun doing it.

Greenpop plants trees in urban greening and reforestation projects and hosts green events, educational workshops and festivals of action to inspire people to get active about a sustainable future.

Embark on a journey with Greenpop, and join the treevolution TODAY!

 More information:

 Greenpop’s Website-

 Reforest Fest Facebook Event -

Family Fest Photos -

 Friends Fest Photos -