Staff and students of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) teamed up with about ninety (90) officers from the Kenya Air Force (KAF), Saturday, November 7, 2020 in a collaborative tree planting exercise, aimed at increasing the University’s tree cover.
The exercise conducted on a 3-acre piece of land that is not used and curved from the JKUAT Agriculture Tuition Farm, saw participants plant 3000 tree seedlings that were provided by the KAF. The majority of the seedlings were Acacia because they are most suited for the tract of clay soil.
Prof. Robert Kinyua, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, expressed his deep concern for the environment, noting that Africa’s rich biodiversity is under threat hence the need for concerted efforts towards achieving more green spaces.
These, Prof. Kinyua noted, are essential in solving problems related to energy, medicine, and many more. He also lauded KAF for completing the exercise in a record time of two hours.
Speaking after the elbow greasing activity that also incorporated the planting of medicinal plants, Juja Ward MCA, Hon. Kalpesh Shah, commended the disciplined forces for extending their support to JKUAT on the noble exercise and urged Juja residents to embrace tree planting as it could help reduce incidences of perennial flooding witnessed in Juja.
Led by Captain Eric Oduor, KAF expressed its interest in supporting future collaborations of a similar nature given the impressive land acreage at JKUAT set aside for afforestation.
The facilitation by KAF was enabled by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Environmental Soldier Program, an approach aimed at making their social responsibility more human-centric.
Reiterating the University’s commitment to maintain the trees, especially in the dry season, Prof. Glaston Kenji, Director, Directorate of Laboratories and Environmental Management (DLEMA), appreciated the soldiers for joining JKUAT to fight the enemy of environmental degradation. He reiterated the commitment of DLEMA and JKUAT Environmental Management Association (JEMA) in coordinating the critical exercise which he termed crucial in mitigating degradation.
JKUAT has been planting trees since its inception in 1981, the last few years have necessitated the institution to widen the expanse in order to meet the set target of 10% tree coverage in public universities. This is in keeping with a directive from the Ministry of Education, dating back to 2016.
Also present during the function was the President of Jomo Kenyatta University Students Association (JKUSA), Abdulahi Somo, who expressed his delight at the presence of several JKUAT alumni among the KAF officers.
The University community was represented by academic and non-academic staff, as well as various heads of departments. Some of the Clubs and Associations represented included JKUSA, Staff Fitness Group and JEMA.