Borakalalo was the venue for our fourth module of the year, this time to learn all about trees! The team started arriving in the early afternoon on Friday and soon all tents were pitched with the rain staying away. Our lecturer for the weekend, Hennie de Beer, imparted some knowledge on the fastest way of putting up a canvas tent.
Friday night was time for another test, this time around with no load shedding and nobody left behind. After the test it was time to see just what we were in for, with Maria and Peter giving us the results for our ecology and wetlands tests. We now all know that the answer to Question One is not “Whiskey”, although some of us are still not so sure of that!
Saturday morning, with summer being officially over and autumn just beginning, meant that the jackets came out for the first time. We all got a first glimpse of what we can expect come winter at Borakalalo.
Our day started with Hennie giving us all a background on trees, teaching us the anatomy of a tree as well as how to go about identifying different trees. We would have to put all of this newly gained knowledge to the test the next day.
After spending the morning in the classroom doing all the theory, we departed camp in the afternoon looking for various trees and the communities in which they occur. While looking for all the various trees, we mistakenly took the wrong turn onto a very unmaintained maintenance road which made for quite the adventure, as well as giving all our cars quite a few pinstripes!
After a long day full of adventure and learning we all took time to relax around the fire under the light of the full moon and enjoy a good old braai.
Sunday morning was spent trying to identify as many of the different tree samples as possible of the ones that Hennie had collected for us. As it turns out, it really is harder than it looks. The weekend was finished off with each group making a trip to their respective ecosystems to learn a bit more about the commonly occurring trees in each ecosystem. We are all looking forward to the next weekend, Veld Management!
Ed’s Note: Thanks so much to our student Matt Petterson for this wonderful report and photos. Grasses or Trees which is more fascinating?