Barry granted provisional accreditation

first_imgBarry granted provisional accreditation Associate EditorIn a tense countdown that left graduates dangling in career limbo, Barry University School of Law’s fourth and final chance to win provisional accreditation from the ABA has finally succeeded.In Philadelphia on February 4, the American Bar Association House of Delegates’ vote put the official seal of approval on a positive recommendation that came two days earlier from the ABA’s Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission. The long-awaited good news sparked cheers, tears and hugs from dozens of graduates, students, and friends who had waited in a nearby hotel lobby for the word on Barry law school’s fate.“We celebrate this decision as a just and timely one,” said Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, president of Barry University. “Our greatest joy is for our students and our alumni who have worked so hard to fulfill their dreams. Now they will get the chance.”“I’m thrilled! I can hardily put it into words!” exclaimed Susie McCabe, 44, from her home in Daytona Beach the day it all became official. After taking five years to get her law degree as a part-time student in Barry’s charter class, she graduated in June 2000, took the bar exam in February 2001, and wondered if she’d ever get to put her law degree to full use. She has had a standing job offer as a prosecutor in the state attorney’s office in Daytona Beach, where she interned, once she is licensed to practice.Like 76 of 125 alumni who have already sat for the bar exam, some waiting as long as 18 months to learn their scores, McCabe awaits the process of lawyers petitioning the Florida Supreme Court to unseal those exam scores to see if she has passed. For McCabe and many others, the clock has been ticking on the one-year deadline from the point of taking the exam and the school being accredited.Even without knowing her score, McCabe and her family were already celebrating victory after the ABA council’s positive recommendation on February 2.When her friend, a Barry student, called with the good news, “there was such shrieking going on the other end of the phone. For 25 minutes, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. After all the worry, this was such a huge hurdle to get over. I cannot describe the utter joy. My husband rented a limo and we went out with friends and family Saturday night and drank champagne. My son and daughter were in the limo, too, and were so excited. It had become a family issue,” McCabe said.“My doorbell rang just a while ago, and it was flowers from my aunt. I went to church on Sunday, and my priest said he wanted me to draw up his will. I am just walking around with a smile on my face.”The contingent of students and alumni who traveled to the ABA meeting in Philadelphia — even passing out “Accredit Barry” buttons that landed on the lapels of bus drivers and waiters — helped put a human face on the struggling Orlando law school.“There was a strong showing by the students and alumni who went to Philadelphia. I applaud their effort, because I know for a fact that students and alumni met with representatives of the ABA. They were able to put a face to the name of Barry University School of Law,” said Rodd Michael Santomauro, a 30-year-old graduate of Barry’s first class. He’d hocked his possessions, took out a $70,000 loan to finance law school, and still lives with his parents, while working as a paralegal at Alzipar, Ville & Camfield, where he has been promised a job as an associate attorney once he is licensed.“Today, the dream for us has been realized. It is a moment that none of us will forget,” said an elated Santomauro.The whole ordeal, he said, “has helped me reevaluate where I’m at in my life and realize that the most important things in life don’t come from materialistic wants. It’s helped me look at people in their true nature when the chips are down, and see the tenacity and character and constitution of a group that banded together to fight for a cause we so passionately believed in for a number of years. You can’t put a price on that.”It was the law school’s finances that prompted concern in the previous round of accreditation hurdles in November. An ABA subcommittee had recommended against provisional approval, expressing fears the school’s financial needs would force it to lower standards in deciding which students to enroll. In a vicious cycle of waning confidence during accreditation struggles, the law school’s enrollment plummeted from 380 students to 200.What helped change the ABA’s mind this time around?“The major issue was $15.6 million in donations we raised, combined with the admissions recruiting firm we hired. I think that put us over the top,” said Eric Dubois, director of institutional advancement for Barry’s law school.In January, a major boost came in the form of $11.3 million, primarily from two South Floridians who wish to remain anonymous, as well as glowing support letters from Gov. Jeb Bush and Attorney General Bob Butterworth.At the ABA meeting in Philadelphia, O’Laughlin, Law Dean Stanley Talcott and other Barry leaders spent nearly two hours behind closed doors with the ABA council on Saturday.Council Chairman Gerald W. Vandewalle, chief justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, told the Orlando Sentinel that Barry’s presentation Saturday allayed most but not all concerns. The voice vote was not unanimous, he said.“It is a concern that, is this a law school that will always remain in [financial and enrollment] trouble?” Vanderwalle said. “Sister Jeanne says that’s not going to happen. So we’ll see.”Now, Barry must win full accreditation within five years.But at least for now, the pressure is off.“Now, our main focus is to continue educating tomorrow’s lawyers,” said Sister Peggy Albert, executive vice president and chief Barry administrator in Orlando.“We have always believed in our students,” said Dean Talcott. “This end result will be one that’s beneficial to all, including the ABA and citizens of Central Florida.”The dean invited students and alumni to gather with him at the law school for a party on February 7.At long last at Barry University School of Law, it was time to celebrate. Barry granted provisional accreditation February 15, 2002 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Ranji Trophy: Odisha thrash Assam by 9 wickets

first_imgOur Sports ReporterGUWAHATI: Assam suffered huge 9 wickets loss, that too within two and half days, against Odisha in the Ranji Trophy tie at the ACA Stadium here today. It was the first loss for Assam in the season.Starting from their overnight score 60-4 Assam today lost wickets on regular intervals and finally bowled out 132 in their second innings. Except Sibsankar Roy no other batter were able to stay on the wicket too longThe fate of the game was almost written on the wall when Assam, started their second innings with arrears of 119 runs, finished the second day at 60-4. Captain Amit Sinha, who remained not out yesterday, departed first this morning. He scored only 7. Thereafter Assam lost wicket on regular basis in the morning and finally got out 132 in the second innings. However, Sibsankar fought bravely and tried alone to stretch the innings. He completed half century today before got out on 56. The left hander altogether faced 124 balls in the innings and hit seven boundaries. Only Ranjit Mali gave little accompany to him and the duo added 35 runs on the eighth wicket partnership which helped the team to earn slender 14 runs lead.Apart from Sibsankar only two other batsmen- Rishav Das (15) and Ranjeet Mali (11) were able to score double-figure runs in the second innings.Among the bowlers of Odisha, Rajesh Mohanty came out with best figure. The young pacer picked up three wickets yesterday and added another three-Amit, Ranjit Mali and Rahul Singh (0)-to finish the match 11-86. Romario Sharma (7) was the other batsman who got out today.Odisha took 3.3 overs to score the required runs losing a single wicket which was collected by Mukhtar Hussain.Assam coach Zakaria Zuffri after the match said, “The performance is very frustrating and we as a team has to show more of character and professionalism in the coming matches.”On the other hand Odisha coach Rashmi Ranjan Parida was surprised to see that the match ended so early. He also praised his team’s young pacer Rajesh Mohanty and Assam batsman Riyan Parag.”Both are prospective’ said the coach. Also Read: Sports newslast_img read more

Breaking: Cllr Martin McDermott elected new Cathaoirleach of Inishowen

first_imgFianna Fáil Councillor Martin McDermott has officially been elected as Cathaoirleach for the Municipal District of Inishowen.The Glengad man topped the poll in Inishowen last month with 2,501 first preference votes.He was the first county councillor to be elected to the new Donegal County Council in Inishowen. McDermott takes over the role from Irish Labour Councillor Martin Farren.Following his election last month, McDermott told Donegal Daily: I’m absolutely delighted. It’s a blown-away vote,”“I can’t put into words the support I’ve got. I got great support the last time. To get around 35 per cent of the vote, I can’t put that into words.”Breaking: Cllr Martin McDermott elected new Cathaoirleach of Inishowen was last modified: June 18th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

DeGale ready for crucial fight at Wembley

first_imgJames DeGale is determined to take his chance to secure a world title fight when he faces unbeaten American Brandon Gonzales at Wembley on Saturday.The bout is a final eliminator for the IBF super-middleweight title held by Carl Froch and is the chief support to the rematch between the Nottingham man and George Groves.It means a victory for DeGale, 28, would set up a clash with Froch or another showdown with his arch-rival and fellow West Londoner Groves, who won a close points decision when they met three years ago.DeGale declared: “It’s here, I’m ready, the pressure’s on and I can’t wait. It’s the perfect fight for me.“This is what I’ve been waiting for; Wembley stadium, 80,000 people. It’s going to be unbelievable.“I’ve prepared and am ready for a good opponent in Brandon Gonzales, who is a good fighter, unbeaten and confident – he really thinks he’s going to win.“But I’m on my journey to become a world champion and no one is going to stop me.”DeGale’s 30-year-old opponent, who has never been the full 12 rounds, believes he will upset the former Olympic champion and put himself in line for a world title challenge.Gonzales said: “I’m excited to be here. It’s a big event. We’ve got an excellent gameplan and I’m extremely confident.”See also:Groves: My left hook will finish FrochFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

SA wines reap international rewards

first_imgMany of South Africa’s most successful wines are grown and produced in the Durbanville valley. (Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com)South African wines have performed impressively of late at numerous prestigious international wine awards. Against strong competition from overseas, the local wine industry has proved yet again that wine is one of South Africa’s most successful exports.SA Wines Online MD Kevin Gallagher says in the past five years South African wines have grown in quality and offer outstanding value for money.“South African wines are able to compete with any other wine producing region in the world,” he says.Michelangelo International Wine AwardsWines from estates in the Western Cape’s Durbanville Wine Valley claimed top honours at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards. This competition started in 1997 and although it’s a home-grown event, is distinctive in the industry as all the judges but one are international.The aim of the competition is to find South Africa’s best wines that will also be well accepted in the international market, and, say the Michelangelo organisers, any local wine that’s been commended by 15 international wine experts should have no problem in overseas markets.Diemersdal won the trophy for the year’s top producer, and its estate wines received six gold medals and five silvers. The gold awards went to: the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Diemersdal Chardonnay Unwooded 2010, Diemersdal Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Diemersdal Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2009 and Diemersdal Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2009.Diemersdal winemaker Thys Louw says the accolade shows that their wines are well up to international standards. He commended the entire Diemersdal vineyard and cellar team, including his father Tienie and co-winemaker Mari van der Merwe for their success.“We can produce such good wines because we put a lot of effort into making them,” Van der Merwe says.The geographical location of the Durbanville area is another major advantage for winemakers and the area is known to produce top Sauvignon Blanc wines. It is close to the Atlantic Ocean, the soil is very fertile, and the climate is ideal. Annual rainfall of about 700 mm also affords good soil moisture for grape cultivation.The Louw family, who have owned the Diemersdal estate for six generations, also attribute their success to minimal cellar intervention. This approach conserves the “prominent varietal character” in their wines.Other member farms of the Durbanville Wine Valley also walked off with top awards. Altydgedacht won the Sue van Wyk Pinotage Trophy and a Grand D’Or (double gold) for Altydgedacht Pinotage 2009. This estate is one of the oldest in the country.Bloemendal took home the Michelangelo Grand D’Or for its Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc.Durbanville Hills’ reputation for producing extraordinary wines across a range of varietals was further entrenched with its three gold medals. The 2009 single-vineyard Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Durbanville Hills Merlot Rosé and 2009 Rhinofields Pinotage took top honours.De Vallei won gold for its 2010 De Vallei Sauvignon Blanc, and Nitída received gold for its 2009 Woolworths Limited Release Semillon.Durbanville Wine Valley Association chairman Righard Theron agrees that the Durbanville area’s viticulture terroir (the sensory attributes of wine in relation to the environmental conditions where grapes grow) contributes significantly to the area’s winemaking success. The altitude of the surrounding hills brings both cooler and warmer weather and this makes it possible for farmers to produce different varieties. It is also possible to produce different styles of wine from the same variety.The 2010 Tri Nations Wine ChallengeNederburg’s 2005 Private Bin Edelkeur received the trophy for top dessert wine in the 2010 Tri Nations Wine Challenge which, like its rugby counterpart, was contested between South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.This accolade is a big honour for South Africa, as it proves that local wines are being noticed. Wines in this competition are submitted by invitation only.In a statement, cellar master Razvan Macici says the 2005 Edelkeur has a luminous golden colour and a fragrant blend of peach, apricot, honey and spice. “Its honey-type sweetness contrasts with a lively, refreshing acidity to give it a pleasingly harmonious balance.”Current Nederburg winemaker Tariro Masayiti says this dessert wine should be celebrated, as it is part of South Africa’s wine heritage and was first produced by the estate’s legendary Günter Brözel, who was appointed as winemaker in 1956. The wine was released at the inaugural Nederburg Auction of Rare Cape wines in 1975, and today is still only sold through the auction.Nederburg’s international brand representative Lynette Harris has been quoted as saying that the award affirms the producer’s status as a top producer of dessert wines. “The winery consistently outperforms its competitors on international and domestic shows,” she says.Anthonij Rupert Wines did the nation proud by being the only South African gold medal winner in the”‘other red varieties” category with its Anthonij Rupert Cabernet Franc 2006. This range is produced at the L’Ormarins estate where the team attributes their winemaking success to selection of the best fruit, and cellar production techniques such as the gravity feed process.In a gravity flow winery, neither the grapes nor wine are moved by pumps. Instead, grapes fall naturally into the fermenting tanks, and wine then moves from the fermenters to the aging barrels. The winery setup usually consists of multiple levels, making it possible to use gravity to move the grapes and wine through processing.Accessible to consumersSA Wines Online, an online retailer that sells South African wines in the UK, was honoured by the Decanter World Wine Awards with its Specialist Merchant of the Year accolade. In this category, the judges assess wine merchants on criteria such as quality, value, range, innovation and customer service.It is one thing to produce good wines, but for the wine industry to grow, more people have to become familiar with wine, and buy it. SA Wines Online took top honours in this category for designing their website to be accessible to consumers, and offering expert advice on the South African wine industry.Kevin Gallagher, MD of SA Wines Online, says although the company is virtually unknown to the average South African consumer, it has grown so much that wineries are approaching them to sell their wines in the UK.“This is another reason why we have the biggest selection of South African wines on offer to the UK and the European customer,” he says. The company stocks more than 1 000 wines from 135 wineries, and sells the largest range of South African wine in the UK. Fully 80% of its customer base is British.At the awards ceremony Gallagher said that it is encouraging that so many South African wines are available to UK consumers. “Local wines are becoming serious contenders on the world wine scene,” he said.Progressive wine industryThe South African wine industry has proven to be progressive in discerning what local and international wine consumers want.Van der Merwe thinks that South Africa’s wines are so exceptional because there are many new winemakers entering the industry. “They are keen to experiment and take the time to investigate what makes a good wine,” she says.Gallagher says that the South African wine industry made a remarkable comeback when it re-entered the international wine scene in the early 1990s. Many winemakers realised that they had fallen behind the rest of the world, but they were quick to travel and study winemaking methods of other wine producing regions. New grape varieties were also introduced.“Even now, young winemakers are still travelling to other wine producing regions, partaking in the harvests and seeing alternative techniques and methods of wine producing,” he says.South Africa is one of the few wine producing regions that enjoys copious sunlight throughout the year, and this is particularly favourable for growing grapes.  “South Africa’s wines are found to have a high flavour and varietal expression and our climate allows for this,” says MasayitiHe says there is also no shortage of good quality, easy-to-drink wine to enjoy with a meal, or simply on its own. The market for wine is changing, and more people are expressing an interest in tasting wine and drinking something that they like.South African wines are also becoming more popular in other international markets and the African region. Gallagher says the UK is the biggest export destination for South African wines and large quantities are shipped to the rest of Europe.  Alternative destinations such as the rest of Africa, the Far East, and North America are becoming increasingly important to the industry. South Africa is also the biggest supplier of wines to Sweden.“A large number of wine experts foresee China and Japan to be the next great market in terms of growth potential for the international wine industry,” he says.last_img read more

Make a pledge to save our seas

first_imgThrough the Sea Pledge programme, people are encouraged to preserve SouthAfrica’s coastline and the environment in general.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free photos, visit the image library) The hybrid cars that are carrying the SeaPledge message to towns and communitiesall along South Africa’s coast.(Image: SST) MEDIA CONTACTS • Alex Lenferna  South East African Climate Consortium,  Student Forum, Rhodes University  +27 72 372 4144 RELATED ARTICLES • South Africa protects its oceans • New drive for greener cars • Research centre for African oceans • SA maps its freshwater priority areas • SA consumers help rebuild fish stocksEmily van RijswijckA modern day crusade recently set off from Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, to bring the status of the planet’s blue lungs – its oceans – to the attention of people living and working along South Africa’s coastline.The drive will also create awareness around the much-anticipated climate conference COP17 taking place over November and December in Durban.Driving under the banner of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and the South East African Climate Consortium (SEACC), a group of students, scientists and environmental activists set off in two hybrid vehicles on 12 October to visit 25 towns along a 2 500km-plus stretch of coast.Their aim: to get people to sign a Sea Pledge to commit to treating seas, estuaries, coastlines and oceans better in years to come. The team has finished their KwaZulu-Natal leg of the trip and is now en route to the Garden Route and the Western Cape.Vehicle manufacturer Honda, a leader in hybrid technology, sponsored the two vehicles involved in the project. Each car has superb green credentials, can travel 100km more per tank than similar fuel-powered vehicles, and has a carbon dioxide output of less than 110 grams per kilometre.The industry norm for exemption from the South African government’s emissions tax on passenger vehicles is 120g/kms.Working together to save the seasSEACC is an Eastern Cape consortium between NGOs and the province’s four universities – Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, Rhodes University in Grahamstown, Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha and Fort Hare in Bhisho.It has a student forum representing the consortium at each of these academic institutions.The organisation has earmarked 3 December for the culmination of its Sea Pledge drive – on this day the oceans will come under the spotlight at COP17.According to the SST website, at 11h00 on that day, around South Africa and elsewhere, yachts will depart to exchange pledges at sea, divers will exchange pledges underwater and try to break world records, surfers will exchange pledges on the waves, and kite boarders in the air.In addition, swimmers, beach walkers, anglers, commercial fisheries, shipping lines, schools, desalination plants, marine mining groups, retail outlets, hospitality establishments and the general public will also join in the pledge exchange festivities.SST has stated that it aims to have a million pledges by 3 December.To make a Sea Pledge, contact melanie@sst.org.za or visit the Sea Pledge Facebook or Twitter pages.  From Sodwana to SaldanaThe Sea Pledge drive will cover almost the entire coastline of South Africa, taking in Sodwana on the east coast all the way to Saldanha on the west coast.The event was launched at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, the departure venue. Speaking at the event, SST founding trustee Tony Ribbink, a specialist on the coelacanth, the ancient fish which until 1938 was thought to be extinct, said the business community has a major role to play in bringing about positive momentum in green economic growth. “Far too many companies and businesses are unaware of the significant difference they can make when it comes to climate issues,” he said. “We aim to show them that they too can play a positive role and benefit from these initiatives.”The Sea Pledge drive is a crusade for change, added Ribbink. “It is one pledge with two goals: to reduce our emissions footprint and to increase our handprint, which entails helping others.”Stopping the decline in fish populationsRibbink said it is time the world sat up and took note of the drastic decline in the health of the world’s oceans and the living creatures inhabiting it. Just in terms of fishing volumes, there should be a major cause for concern, he said.World fishing numbers have been in decline for a number of years and scientists are predicting the entire collapse of major fisheries by 2046.But it is the survival of subsistence communities, whose very lives depend on the daily catch of fish, which is of most concern to SEACC. These communities will be most affected by mass extinction of fish species. “By signing the Sea Pledge, your business will undertake to help save the seas, and more importantly, contribute to deal with issues of social justice and environmental conservation,” Ribbink told business representatives.Each commitment will be added to a petition calling on the UN to make 2012 the International Year of Coasts and Oceans.The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber pledged its support during the event.“The chamber is joining forces with SEACC at this event to encourage businesses to become proactive in their response to climate change,” said chamber CEO Kevin Hustler.Impact of climate changeGuest speaker at the launch, air quality and climate change specialist and television presenter Simon Gear said the real impact of climate change has only been felt in the last decade. The increase in world temperatures is well recorded but is just a small part of this global phenomenon.“The world has not become massively warmer over the last decade,” he said, “but half a percent increase in temperatures indicates enormous changes in kinetic energy and resultant climatic systems.”It is for this reason that scientists prefer to talk about climate change rather than global warming nowadays, added Gear.Sketching a rather bleak picture, Gear said the harnessing of fossil fuels remains the single biggest threat to the environment and will remain so as the country lacks a political will to move away from it. He told the gathering that local power utility Eskom supplier burns up 14 kilograms of coal and uses 36 litres of water to give an average household a day’s supply of electricity.In summing up, Gear said that the Sea Pledge will make a valuable contribution towards protecting our fauna and flora and securing our water resources.last_img read more

The treevolution has begun

first_imgOn school planting days, 20 pupils, teachers and Greenpop workers get planting together. The Greenpop members give students an outdoor lesson on the importance of trees, global warming, food security, beauty, biodiversity and water recycling. Greenpop’s founding members Misha Teasdale, Lauren O’Donnell and Jeremy Hewitt.(Images: Greenpop)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lauren O’Donnell Co-founderGreenpop+ 27 21 461 9265RELATED ARTICLES• SA protects its national trees• Planting trees in Zambia• Plant trees in Uganda, earn money• Adopt a tree in Africa• Using exotic woods to tackle poverty• Green charcoal to save forests• Kyoto Protocol extended at COP17Cadine PillayCape Town-based Greenpop has been planting trees for the past two years on behalf of companies, individuals and tourists, giving them the chance to invest in a greener future, improve communities in under-greened areas or compensate for their carbon footprint.The social enterprise identifies places in need of trees, such as under-resourced schools or deforested areas. The trees are donated by individuals and companies and at no cost, Greenpop plants the trees in an effort to spread environmental awareness, uplift under-greened communities and combat climate change.Instilling a green consciousnessGreenpop co-founder Lauren O’Donnell says the organisation sets out to prove that greening and sustainable living can be fun, popular and accessible. “Our objectives are to uplift communities, green urban and rural areas, create environmental awareness, combat climate change and make greening fun and popular so that a greener, more conscious movement is inspired,” she explains.“We believe in inspiring a greener, more conscious, inclusive movement and do this through tree-planting projects, green events, education, social media, volunteerism, and activating people to start doing.”Branching outInitially planned as a month-long volunteering project, Greenpop started planting trees in September 2010 in schools, crèches, orphanages, old age homes and community centres, as well as in deforested areas. But it grew from a whim to a formal enterprise after its founding members, O’Donnell, Misha Teasdale and Jeremy Hewitt, realised that 30 days spent planting 1 000 trees was simply not enough.“It just felt so unsustainable to stop; plus, our phones wouldn’t stop ringing. Principals were calling us and asking for trees for their schools, and companies were phoning trying to figure out how they could get involved,” O’Donnell recounts.Fast-forward to the present: over 17 000 trees at over 200 locations, over 200 beneficiary organisations and 100 500 people benefitting, and you find the grassroots initiative starting to dig deeper into its work.School planting daysOn school planting days, 20 pupils, teachers and Greenpop workers get planting together. The Greenpop members start with an outdoor lesson on the importance of trees, global warming, food security, beauty, biodiversity and water recycling.Then there is a detailed planting demonstration and then everyone is split into teams to plant, get their hands dirty and have fun while learning about how valuable and important trees are.Afterwards, Greenpop talks the school through its grey water system, in which classes are assigned trees to maintain and water. Three times a week, each pupil brings in a two-litre recycled plastic bottle filled with their used bath or dish water from home to water their specific trees.While this saves the school’s water, it mainly empowers the children to take responsibility for their trees and ensures the trees do not get thirsty.Giving back to the communityO’Donnell says school planting days also make great team building activities for companies. “These days allow companies to interact with and give back to communities in need, green schools, benefit from the marketing opportunities, and contribute towards a greener, brighter future for South Africa,” she adds.“The pledgee companies support our sustainability programme and pledge trees every month. We plant these trees at our schools and send feedback and photos to them on a regular basis.”In addition, people can donate trees every month; they will get a certificate with the GPS co-ordinates of where their trees are growing.Bridging the Green DivideGreenpop connects people with nature, but also with each other. O’Donnell believes social bridging is fundamental to the group’s ethos, and Greenpop stands by the belief that its work has the potential to create further opportunities for everyone involved. “We found some interesting studies that show how urban greening can help improve the economics of an area and can socially uplift a space.“Degradation of neighbourhoods worsens poor social cohesion, crime, drug abuse and environmental downfall. Urban greening has been closely linked to reductions in these social problems.”In Cape Town, she explains, there is a massive divide between the “leafy suburbs” – so-called because they have trees and money – and suburbs that are not that beautiful and do not have that many trees.However, this issue is not confined to Cape Town but is seen around the world and elsewhere in South Africa – Johannesburg’s City Parks’ started a campaign called ‘Bridging the Green Divide’, a programme to overcome greening disparities in the city.The campaign focuses on complementing the new parks that have been developed in Johannesburg; the restoration of conservation areas; the beautification of road islands and the planting of trees.Already 200 000 trees have been planted in the south of the city, which was left dry and dusty because of apartheid spatial planning, compared to the lush, green, treed north.Even though South Africa is plagued by issues related to basic survival, like access to health care and clean water, O’Donnell believes environmental initiatives still hold value, and may even have the ability to pave the way to plausible solutions for more pressing problems.Trees for ZambiaIn 2012, Greenpop launched Trees for Zambia, a reforestation and eco-awareness project that began with a three-week tree planting. This was followed by an on-going campaign to grow awareness about deforestation, climate change, tree planting, environmental sustainability, and alternative energy sources.“Zambia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world,” she says. “In three weeks, and in partnership with local authorities and NGOs, we planted 4 135 trees with 200 volunteers from Zambia and around the world, and 21 schools received trees and a fun-filled day of tree planting, education and seed propagation with pupils.”Greenpop will be back in Zambia this year for its second event, Trees for Zambia 2013, to boost its work and plant more than 5 000 trees in schools, on subsistence farms and at reforestation sites.last_img read more