Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A great day to plant some trees!!

To GVI’s delight we were approached by the area assistant chief Adini and Friends of Shimoni Forest, to plant some indigenous tree saplings in Shimoni. Overwhelmed by this great achievement in growing trees rather than destroying, GVI jumped straight on the band wagon; alas where had these gifts come from and where shall they be placed to flourish??!!
The answers soon followed with further discussion in chief Adini’s office. It came with great surprise that the chief Adini had been successfully cultivating over 100 mbambakofi trees, in his back garden, in order to place in designated areas of Shimoni village. This was a great opportunity for FSF and GVI to interact with the villagers and demonstrate the importance of re planting trees in areas of previous deforestation.

--Volunteers and Community members getting started--

Mbambakofi trees are perfect species to introduce into the Shimoni area. These trees once ravished the forest coastal areas, however due to their hard wood components they became readily cultivated for production of furniture and houses. Mbambakofi takes centuries to grow and therefore have become endangered through extensive deforestation. Another important factor is the species interaction between birds and the Mbambakofi species. Certain birds such as Crowned Hornbills prefer to forage among Mbambakofi foliage. Re introducing these trees may encourage more diverse bird populations around Shimoni.

--Digging holes in coral can be hard work--

An area of 15m x 60m was allocated between the assistant chiefs office and immigration centre. The ground being a mixture of coral rag, top soil and some flora; the GVI team were geared up for a full day’s work! The first part of the project consisted of a morning brief, in which Matata (Friends of Shimoni Forest chairman) organized some members of FSF to help with the activities. It was decided that in order to give the trees optimum growing conditions we must invent a goat deterrent, or pray for a miracle! Either way our three pole and sack shelter seemed most plausible...... it was time to get down to the nitty gritty!

--Local kids helping to carry sapplings--

Old poles were foraged from various places including our trusty banda. Rachel and Aisling went on the scavenge for sacks as one team, Kris and Lynsay as another, bearing in mind a Tusker(Kenyan Beer) was at stake (may the best man win!). The villagers were very receptive to the idea and donated many materials, including themselves!! Soon after the first hole was dug a number of locals joined in, hacking, sawing and chiseling; before our very eyes 32 holes appeared! The long day GVI and FSF had anticipated turned into a 2 hour village festivity.
Meanwhile...... Rach, Kez and Aisling gathered local children to help transport the saplings from Adini’s back garden to their new home. The chief even sent a representative to plant him his very own tree! The whole day was a huge success and the feeling of community spirit was at a high. It just goes to show that education and conservation can be a fun and fulfilling activity.