By BONIFACE MULU
About 350 tree seedlings donated by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) were on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 planted at the Ndumoni Primary School in Kitui Central District in Kitui County.
Various tree species including the Olea Africana, Tamarindus indica, Croton megalocarpus and Senna siamea are among the planted.
The NEMA Kitui County Director Stephen Oras Muriithi was the chief guest at the event where he had been accompanied by his deputy Naftaly Osoro.
Speaking to the pupils, parents and teachers after the planting exercise, Muriithi said that they the NEMA have planted plenty of trees in schools and around the rivers among others in Kitui County to mark this year’s (the 50th) World Environment Day. “And also we had a cleanup exercise of the Kalundu market in Kitui Town to mark the day,” Muriithi said.
“Only One Earth was the theme of this year’s event. And this year’s event was celebrated in Sweden where the World Environment Day was started by the UN in 1972,” the NEMA official said. The World Environment Day is globally marked on June 5, he added.
The expert said the trees are important for the oxygen. “A mature tree can provide some oxygen for breathing to eight people daily,” he said. “The oxygen has many uses. It is also used for medical treatment in hospitals. And the oxygen is some 20 per cent in the air,” Muriithi added.
So I am asking you to plant trees wherever you go for the good of the environmental protection, the environmentalist added. Muriithi said that without conserving the environment, the global warming will continue to rise.
And on his part, the Kitui Forest Station Conservator Stanley Marioko said: “We came to educate you on trees planting.” The forester educated the gathering about various tree species.
He said the Olea africana is an indigenous tree and that it has a lot of benefits. “It is good for the charcoal and it has some medicinal value,” the KFS official said. Marioko said that the Tamarindus indica is a drought resistant tree. “It has some good fruits and it has some medicinal value.
It is only found in Kitui,” the expert said. The Assistant County Forest Conservator Charles Kavithi also addressed the event where he had represented the County Forest Conservator Monica Masibo.
Kavithi disclosed that they the KFS planted 1,000 trees at the Mwaani Primary School in Kisasi District in Kitui County recently. “Their (the school) goodness is that they have sufficient water.
The KFS official said they the KFS are going to plant trees in all the schools that have sufficient water in Kitui County for the good of the environmental conservation. “We in the KFS say that the tree’s 70 per cent survival is okay,” the expert said.
Kavithi said the Kitui County’s forest cover currently stands at about 8 per cent. “And the Kenya’s forest cover currently stands at 12.3 per cent. And our (Kenya) target is 30 per cent by 2050,” he said.
Kavithi highly thanked the Ndumoni Primary School head teacher, Mrs. Gladys Boniface “for requesting for some tree seedlings from our office for planting in her school.”
Kavithi said that they the KFS take supply the tree seedlings for planting to all the schools that request for the same from their office. And a Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) official Bernard Kimani Kigwa who also addressed the event talked about the Melia volkensii.
He said the Melia volkensii that has its origin in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania is a fast growing tree species. “The mature Melia trees range between 6 and 20 metres tall,” Kigwa said, adding that the species produce high value timber.
The expert further said the Melia volkensii is a drought and termite resistant. The official who had represented the KEFRI Kitui Regional Research Centre Director, Dr. Albert M. Luvanda at the function, said the KEFRI is working towards promoting the Melia volkensii in the country.
The Melia volkensii belongs to the Meliaceae family which is known to have biologically active limonoids. In Kenya, the Melia volkensii is found in Kitui, Machakos, Embu, Taita Taveta, Isiolo, Samburu and Makueni Counties.
And in her speech, the Ndumoni Primary School head teacher said: “This morning I thank God for having us to have the visitors in our school.” The teacher assured the KFS and the NEMA that they the school community are going to take care of the trees they provided to them for the good of the environmental conservation.
“We have a dream of changing our school environment through the trees planting,” Gladys said.
She disclosed that the Ndumoni Primary School currently has a total of 348 pupils-180 boys and 168 girls.
And she also disclosed that the learning institution currently has a total of sixteen teachers-14 female and 2 male.
The area (Kyangwithya) Zonal Curriculum Support Officer (CSO) Damaris Musyoka and the area (Ndumoni) Assistant Chief Gabriel Wambua also addressed the event among others.
The Assistant Chief thanked the NEMA and the KFS “for coming to plant trees in this school of ours.”