Students Plant Baobab Trees to Slow Impact of Climate Change

From Left: Prof. John. B. Mukundi, Dr. Lucy Murungi and Prof. Fridah Wanzala hand over a baobab seedling to Prof. Robert Gituru and SAJOREC Coordinator, Mr. Kevin

The JKUAT Association of Green Energy (JAGE) embarked on a tree planting exercise at the SAJOREC Botanical Gardens where they planted over 200 Baobab seedlings on September 20, 2022 in an initiative geared towards increasing forest cover, as one of the ways to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

The baobab research project, under which the grafted and non-grafted seedlings were raised, was funded by the German government from 2016-2019. The project was led by Prof. Fredah Wanzala and Prof. John Bosco Njoroge.

The planting of the seedlings will go towards increasing the number of indigenous trees available in the botanical garden, while enhancing research on the baobab tree.

According to the Dean of Students, Prof. Fridah Wanzala, who donated the seedlings, the Baobab tree is a useful indigenous species with its fruit and leaves being edible, providing alternative nutrition to humans and animals alike in arid and semi-arid areas.

“The Baobab tree is endemic and is an important source of human nutrition in Africa. There is still need for extensive research on the species, especially in Kenya,” Prof. Fridah Wanzala said as she presided over the handing over ceremony.

Prof. Wanzala said, the donation will complement the efforts made by JKUAT to increase forest cover in the institution, while providing a viable research hub to researchers interested in indigenous trees like the Baobab.

The Dean of Students thanked the Director, SAJOREC, Prof. Robert Gituru for making available the necessary space for planting the seedlings urging the students to continue being proactive in terms of environmental conservation.

On his part, Prof. Gituru said the Baobab existence is still under threat as people clear them not knowing the benefits it brings to the environment.

He further noted that the tree planting exercise will contribute to the forest coverage that will subsequently help to mitigate climate change.

“At SAJOREC we boast of a botanical garden with a variety of indigenous trees. This donation will be an important step in continuing to increase plant cover in the University whilst expanding our portfolio in terms of available native trees,” Prof. Gituru noted.

JAGE Chairman, Ambrose Michura, observed that although the Association is relatively new, it aims at educating the masses on the importance of utilization of renewable energy and environment conservation.

“As an Association, we believe action speaks louder than words and this exercise typifies our drive in ensuring we lead the way in conserving our environment,” Muchura stated.

Climate change is impacting human lives and health in various ways and threatens the availability of essential ingredients of good health such as safe drinking water, clean air and has the potential to reverse the strides that have already been made in global health.

Policies and individual measures such as growing trees and efficient use of energy have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions thus alleviating air pollution.

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