The Meru University of Science and Technology students on Monday suspended their normal routine for about three hours to join their Chancellor, Dr. James Mwangi in a tree planting drive at the institution’s ground.
Speaking after leading the exercise in a chilly morning, Dr. Mwangi who is also the Equity Bank CEO commended the over 4,000 students for their sacrifice to engage in the noble course of planting 40,000 trees aimed at increasing the institution’s forest cover.
He said since the decision to start the Chancellor’s Forest three years ago, the university has established a total of 87,920 indigenous tree species of various categories making the university that rests on a 540 acres achieve a 13 percent under tree cover.
“We decided to plant only indigenous tree species in the 70 acres of land demarcated for establishing the forest so that this area can be a continuation of the expansive Mt. Kenya Forest,” noted the Chancellor.
Dr. Mwangi said the move is an effort to comply with the government policy of 10 percent tree cover rating the university as being the first in the country to achieve the threshold.
He appealed to other institutions to follow suit and take advantage of the ongoing heavy rains in the country to improve their tree cover reiterating that the effects of climate change are real.
“According to history we are informed that this section of the institution we are standing on is said to have been a lake with 5 streams flowing but to date none exists,” regretted the Chancellor.
Dr. Mwangi has called on people of good will to come on board to help reverse the negative effects of deforestation in the country.
He asked those practicing farming on hills to try agroforestry for a sustainable environment.
Students who also invited their friends from Kenya Methodist University to join them in the drive expressed their delight, noting that the activity was timely for relaxing their minds from their routine lectures.
“This is commendable and we would wish to encourage our fellow young people to be at the forefront in afforestation exercises since trees define our future,” stated Anne Kimotho, a third year Civil Engineering student at the university.
The students have called upon their fellow comrades all over the country to ensure they plant one tree per year for the years they shall be pursuing their studies for remembrance and helping in increasing forest cover.
By Richard Muhambe