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Educationist calls for early age forestry education

Embu County Director of Education (CDE) Mr Kosgei Kipruto has said forestry education needs to be introduced to children at an early age so as to have citizens who know the importance of growing trees.

He said the huge effort needed for planting and nurturing trees as a climate change mitigation measure required the participation of all citizens and there was a need to rope in the next generation by catching them while at a tender age.

Mr Kipruto spoke when he was the chief guest during a tree planting exercise at the St Luke’s School for the Deaf in Mbeere South. The tree planting organized by the Rainforest Alliance and the Kenya Scouts Association was to mark the International Day of Forests.

The CDE said the Ministry of Education was in the forefront in the national campaign to grow 15 billion trees by 2032 with every learner expected to plant at least four trees and every adult in the education fraternity expected to grow 40 trees every year.

He urged scientists and entrepreneurs to innovate products that would be used as substitutes for forest produce in order to conserve forests.

Mr James Muyula of the Rainforest Alliance said their organization was helping in planting fruit trees at St. Luke School for the Deaf under the Sustainable Landscapes and livelihoods Project they are running in Embu and Kirinyaga Counties.

He said the tree-planting event in which 400 seedlings were planted was symbolic but significant step towards fostering environmental awareness and sustainability within the community.

Muyula said climate mitigation and environmental conservation called for shared commitment and called on other stakeholders to join hands in planting trees.

“This initiative goes beyond just planting trees; it’s about instilling a sense of responsibility towards our planet and ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can actively participate in conservation efforts,” remarked Muyula.

He said the fruit trees planted not only contribute to the ecological balance of the area but also provide a sustainable source of nutrition for the students.

St Luke’s School head teacher Keziah Kagendo lauded the initiative saying the fruit trees planted will not only change the environment but also act as a source of food for the students.

The trees planted will be an addition to what they have achieved in a five-year greening program that has seen the school establish shade trees, grass patches, a food forest and vegetable garden that has seen the school almost become self-sustaining in food.

“We are thrilled to be part of this initiative, which not only enhances our school environment but also teaches our students valuable lessons about environmental stewardship,” said Kagendo.

Elizabeth Karitu, the founder of Karitu Foundation that also took part in the exercise said that as the trees flourish they will serve as living testimony to the power of collaboration and community engagement in creating a more sustainable and inclusive future for all.

By Steve Gatheru

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