Local Youth Fight Alien Invasion!

Does it sound like a sci-fi movie? In May 2013, members of Greyton Conservation Society partnered with Emil Veder teacher, Deidre Erasmus and several of her students to participate in a “Yhack” (Youth hack) of invasive alien plants just behind the school in Genadendal.

Though Yhacks have happened in the past, committee members Andrew White, Marshall Rinquest and Sunnye Collins hope to make it a regular outing each term for as many schools that are keen to participate. “The goal is to conduct 10-12 Yhacks a year.” With the willing hands of 10 youth, we donned our poppers, loppers, gloves and spray bottles and hacked out hundreds of IAPs including long leaf wattle, black wood, black wattle and pine in just one hour.

Though Sunnye humorously emphasized to the youth that hacking is a great way to release stress and anger, the real value of clearing out IAPs (invasive alien plants) is to create more space for our indigenous fynbos. Hosting approximately 7,700 unique species endemic to the southwestern Cape, fynbos deserve our care and attention and it is our goal to pass this practical stewardship on to youth.

These Yhacks fall under our newly established Youth Environmental Leadership Programme (YELP), which will continue to create programming and opportunities for youth to learn about, appreciate, and care for Nature.

Photo credit: Candice Mostert

Photo credit: Candice Mostert

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