As some of you may have seen from yesterday’s blog, today was another part of a tree planting initiative being pushed by members of Shimoni village, primarily the area Chief for the Shimoni sub-location and Friends of Shimoni Forest. GVI work very closely with both parties, and so headed out in the rain to lend a hand. 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 deforestation. One of the GVI team, Lynsay Bradford, tells us about the day:
Mbambakofi trees are perfect species to introduce into the Shimoni area. These trees once covered the coastal areas, however due to their hard wood components they became readily harvested 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.
An area of 15m x 60m was allocated between the assistant chiefs office and the Immigration Department . 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!
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 was at stake (may the best team 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 high. It just goes to show that education and conservation can be a fun and fulfilling activity.