Pretoria – The University of Pretoria (UP) has once again been recognised by the South African Landscaping Institute, winning Double Gold Awards for three projects.
UP, no stranger to the winning of awards, scooped double gold for the Strubenkop – environmental rehabilitation and restoration; Hartbeestspruit – environmental rehabilitation and restoration; and the Javett-UP project.
Considered the Oscars of landscape and architecture, the awards mean a great deal, the university said.
The institute consists of a network of members, principal and suppliers throughout South Africa who are guided by a constitution and code of conduct.
Members endeavour to improve the standard of the landscaping industry by adhering to minimum specifications, to ensure clients get increased value and professionalism.
Strubenkop outcrop, at the Hillcrest Campus, was heavily infested with nationally declared alien or invasive plant species.
The infestation was dominated by the noxious Lantana camara. “Servest [a facilities management company] was appointed the principal contractor for the eradication of this and other alien invasive plants, and for the rehabilitation and restoration of the natural veld of the Strubenkop outcrop.”
About 78% of the total area has been cleared of alien invasive tree and shrub species. Positive signs of natural recovery and succession are visible with the recuperation of historical species such as Combretum mole (the velvet bushwillow), Peltophorum africanum (weeping wattle), Peltophorum africanum (wild pear), Ziziphus mucronata (buffalo thorn) and many more.
Professor Susan Adendorff, UP director of Facilities Management, said they were committed to green initiatives because of the goal to remain the leader in environmental compliance, environmental restoration and to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible.
“There’s a constant drive to improve the environmental status on all campuses to ensure that we don’t just comply with environmental laws and regulations but create an experience of progress, innovation and great visual appeal,” she said.
Next was Hartbeestspruit river system, which is subject to annual flooding. The goal with the riparian rehabilitation initiative is to maximise the resilience of the urban channel in response to a rapidly changing upstream urban environment.
One of the key objectives is to stabilise the embankments through a bio-engineered approach.