Avid environmental conservationists in Kenya have a lot to be thrilled after the marking of this year’s World Forest Day celebrations that took place at the Yaaku Cultural Centre next to Mukogodo – Nanyuki County, on 21st March. The setting of the event was Mukogodo Forest, one of East Africa’s few indigenous forests, and the venue perfect to celebrate strides made in forest conservation as well as raise awareness on the importance that forests play in ecosystems across the globe.
According to the United Nations, forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, supporting the livelihood of approximately 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures. It is for this reason that the UN General Assembly purposefully set aside March 21 so that platforms across the world can discuss how to conserve forests as well as develop mitigating strategies that address the destruction of forests.
The theme of the day: “Our Forests – Our Future” created a space where Foresters, Researchers, County Government representatives and authoritative voices from around the world, could discuss key issues with the Yaaku Community who are devoted to protecting Mukogodo forest, not only to support their traditional lifestyle, but for future generations.
Hon. John Bosco Akaale – Laikipia’s County Executive Officer for Water, Environment and Natural resources led a strong delegation in the planting of indigenous tree seedlings and also made room for discourse with the Yaaku community council of elders, local leaders, board members of Makurian group Ranch, Ilngwesi Makurian Mukogodo Sieku—community forest association (ILMAMUSI) and local residents of Makurian group ranch.
The celebration was also marked with songs, poems and traditional dances presented by Nature & Wildlife Clubs from Makurian Primary School, Doldol Boys’ Secondary School, Lentile Academy and the Yaaku and Rendille Women Cultural Troupes. Performances artistically interpreted this year’s World Forest Day theme as well as voiced concern on climate change and subsequent effects on Mukogodo forest and her inhabitants.Proactive discussions such as these are leading to the realisation of conservation management plans and the development of multiple platforms for further discussions on conservation.