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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tree Planting in Shimoni!!

The wet season is now in full swing in South Coast Kenya which means a few things. Frogs are in Shimoni, grass is appearing out of nowhere and it’s the perfect time for tree planting!!!
Kate, Luke and Macs have been busy the last couple of weeks working with Friends of Shimoni Forest to organise tree planting days in Shimoni. This may sound like a simple task but a number of obstacles need to be overcome in order to achieve our aims. These include sourcing trees (there are no nurseries in Shimoni), what species to plant, funding to purchase trees, transporting them to Shimoni, and most importantly where to plant them??  
GVI staff and volunteers carrying the trees to Shimoni Primary
FSF recently received a donation from a friend of Macs mum Shaheen Jahangir  which we are extremely thankful for. This allowed FSF to purchase the trees. Kate, Macs, Luke and Matata (FSF Chairman) visited National Museums of Kenya in Ukunda on more than one occasion to source indigenous trees. FSF came to consensus that they would want to plant several species with Swahili names including Mvule, Mguoguoi, Casuarina, Mywamaji and Myelow based on their growth rate, type and suitability to Shimoni conditions. On a final visit on perhaps one of the wetter days we’ve had this year (we all looked like we’d been for a swim) we managed to source 118 trees ready to be planted, sorted!!
FSF Secretary Athumani helping Shimoni Primary students
It was decided that we would distribute the trees between 3 of the schools in Shimoni, Shimoni Primary, Secondary and Kichakamkwaju Primary. We planted at a different school each day over the 3 days. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm and support the head teachers and children had for the tree planting projects. The schools even managed to dig the holes to help prepare for the days, brilliant!

FSF, GVI and Shimoni Secondary

With speeches from Luke, school headmasters and from FSF, the responsibility now lied with the children to supervise and look after the trees. A word from Matata to the children was ‘Help the trees grow as you grow’. Empowering the children to be responsible for the trees will hopefully be a positive step towards a greater appreciation and awareness for conservation issues within Shimoni.  

Luke Purcell 20/5/2011