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16 May 2013

Students and pupils around Tofala forest area nurse over 117. 000 tree seeds

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The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has through its Environmental Education Program mobilized over 200 students and pupils to nurse a total of 117, 300 seeds of different species including Acacia, Leuceana, date palm and Prunus Africana. The students and pupils drawn from some nine primary and secondary schools in the Tofala area established a total of nine tree nurseries in nine school campuses around Tofala. They sowed 80000 Accacia, 36000 of Leuceana, 500 of date palm and 800 of Prunus Africana. The exercise took place from April 15 to April 26, 2013 in the school campus of Government School (GS) Bechati, GS Malengah-Bechati, Government High School (GHS), Bamumbu, Government Secondary School (GSS) Bechati, GHS Besali, GS Kenkah-Folepi, GS Banti, GS Egumbo and GS Bamumbu. During the process the students and pupils who showed a lot of interest, gained skills in seed identification, pretreatment of seeds, establishment of bare root nurseries and construction of shed for nursery.

Getting these young people plant trees falls in line with ERuDeF's vision to educate the young people on the importance of environmental protection, for them to in turn educate their parents to support the conservation of the last great apes in the forest of Tofala. In addition to this, the enthusiasm to plant trees was ignited during the ERuDeF's annual wildlife advocacy week in February 2013 which brought together all primary and secondary schools for an environmental education exhibition. During the official closure of the event, it was unanimously agreed that school grounds have to be more environmentally friendly. Ideas were exchanged between the ERuDeF environmental education coordinators, students, pupils and teachers on possible ways to achieve a greener school environment. It was then resolved that each school should establish a 3-year forest garden project to be supervised and supported by ERuDeF. It was therefore against this backdrop that these nine schools were mobilized to plant trees.

Hanna Maija an ERuDeF volunteer who assisted in the establishment of these nurseries was very excited after a visit to the nurseries 2 weeks after they were established, 'I am so glad because most of the seeds nursed have geminated. The nursery site is so clean which indicates that the kids are taking good care of the young plants'. It is hoped that, these trees would be transplanted in September in to the school forest garden. The school authorities on their part are taking the necessary measures to ensure the growth of these trees into proper school forest. This implies if the project is successful, in 5 years 9 schools in Tofala will have their own school forests.

By Mahah Vladimire