On Monday a group 5 of A Rocha Kenya volunteers, were able to help with tree planting in a local village. Tree planting is one of the conservation measures through which ASSETS (Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-Tourism Scheme) works with the local community to make them less depended on the forest. The idea being that if the community members have their own trees, they can sell or cut for timber or charcoal without having to go into the forest.
Families engaged primarily are those of ASSETS beneficiaries. We arrived at the households and headed round the back of their property to the area where the trees were going to be planted. Using string that was pulled tight across an area of land, we dug holes for the saplings at 2metre intervals. The Casuarina sapling could then be placed into the ground, and with care, the hole filed in with soil. A basin was left at the base of each tree for rain to pool from the nearby ground and provide prolonged saturation for the roots. In total as a group, we planted just over 170 trees!
Why the tree planting
The rainy season starts in April here in Kenya, so it is this time of the year that there is a bigger push to put trees in the ground. In the hope that they will become well enough established before the water becomes more scarce.
Our aim as ASSETS has always been to reduce the pressure exerted on Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and the Mida-Creek, and in so doing, care for God’s beautiful creation. One of the best ways of doing this, that has been tested over the years, is helping the neighboring community to be more equipped and be able to rely on themselves. If they can go about their daily lives without having to cut down trees or hunt animals in the forest, then there is hope for the forest.
After the planting was completed, the volunteers got a chance to share with the community and they were all very praising of ASSETS and the potential it has to provide benefit to local people. Nathan a new A Rocha Kenya volunteer was excited to get stuck in and had this to say…
“Getting to visit a family living in smaller village was such a privilege and I truly enjoyed getting dirty in the soil, digging holes and planting trees. What I took from this experience the most though was learning how beneficial a few simple trees can be to a family. I learnt that not only can tree planting contribute towards a healthier environment, but also be a source of income for people too, brilliant! Plus, an added benefit was the building of friendships and community that resulted from our great teamwork!