|2012 Winner of the GREEN HEART AWARD|
ROBERT FORSYTH, Executive Chairman of the Recreation Africa group
MISTY HILLS COUNTRY HOTEL, CONFERENCE CENTRE & SPA (“Misty Hills”) and
Robert is a keen environmentalist and this is noticeable at both hotel establishments. Robert has been instrumental in ensuring that the hotels’ reduce their wastage through various recycling programmes – food wastage going to local pig farmers, paper, cardboard & packaging materials recycled by “Ronnie”, wet paper and packaging material go to the hotels’ compost unit, glass bottles collected & recycled by local glass collectors e.g. Nygwenya Glass (@ Misty Hills), plastic cartons, containers & plastic coverings segmented for recycling. At Misty Hills the hotel operates its own sewage system by being reticulated through its own sewerage processing unit before joining the main municipal line. While at Kedar a similar process is in use however the grey water is cleaned through a wetland process which releases clean water into the estates water course that feeds the Hippo and Elephant Dams on the estate. Low energy lights are used to reduce electricity usage. Alien trees & large shrubs that are removed are converted into furniture, doors, art frames, and at Misty Hills partition walling around the water processing plant. Alien wood is also used for fuel.
Robert also established the Misty Hills Hotel Private Botanical Gardens and Arboretum that has been awarded Botanic Gardens Conservation International Membership. There are approximately 400 different varieties of Southern African trees, shrubs, bulbs, groundcovers, grasses, succulents and aquatic plants within the gardens and conserved areas. Cascading water features and abundant birdlife add to the country setting. Management of Misty Hills is proud to have its efforts and private botanical garden and arboretum recognised by Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
Robert’s enthusiasm and active role in “greening” has affected more than 80% of the establishments employees (total number of employees = +485). Staff at both establishments started their own “love veggie patches” at the hotels’ to supply the hotels’ kitchens with fresh organic veggies & herbs. Each staff member was given 5 moringa tree plantings to ‘take home and develop in their gardens’. Robert is such a gardening enthusiast and environmentalist that his passion and energy therein sweeps up everybody wherein staff and even leisure guests / conference guests are enamored. All leisure guests get moringa seeds with their evening turndowns together with the history of the tree and its beneficial properties. Participating conference entities are awarded a Certificate of Participation on our Greening Project and for every 10 conference delegates 1 indigenous tree is planted at one of the establishments. Year to date we have planted in excess of 3,000 indigenous trees.
At Kedar we operate a fully fledged piggery as well as producing organic veggies for use at the Lodge. We are also in consultation with The Lobby House to assist with the rehabilitation of a disused sandmine of 25 hectares adjoining Kedar to re-establish the natural underground springs from which the surrounding community will benefit. This project has also elicited an interest from a De Paul University (Michigan USA) student who has just completed his Bachelor’s Degree in environmental studies and commenced with his 1-year practical on the 07th May 2012 at Kedar. www.recreationafrica.co.za