Tree By Tree: Part III
“I am excited that this tree planting culture has already started to trickle down to the families of the participating students and now to their own communities.” - Sam Mutua
Ava: How did you create such a detailed and insightful knowledge database for Tree Nation?
Sam: After many years of planting trees, I realized that to sustain a long-term commitment to planting trees, I must have a sustainable source of seedlings. Unfortunately, when I was growing up (the annual birthday celebration my mother set up for me), there used to be a big challenge in getting tree planting seedlings and my mother used to travel about 15km one way to get the planting tree seedlings. This experience encouraged me to set up a tree nursery to ensure constant supply of planting materials for my community. It is from our vibrant activities taking place in this tree nursery where I am able to post updates of our tree planting efforts on our Konza Tree Nursery webpage, hosted free of charge by Tree Nation. I am grateful to Tree Nation for this opportunity to get our tree planting efforts out there.
Ava: How has it helped others learn more about tree species and reforestation?
Sam: Konza Tree Nursery has immensely contributed in tree planting culture in my community. We often post and share the names of the different tree species available in our tree nursery throughout the year. We also try to make sure we provide the local names of our trees so that our communities or followers can easily identify the species that are adaptive to their area, the potential benefits of the different tree species e.g, timber, shade, construction posts, medicinal value, trees among other many species including tree species that have attractive flowers for bees – yielding good honey.
We have planted trees in many community schools and we also have had many schools visit us to learn about different tree species in our tree nursery. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn more about different species of trees. For example last year, with support from the 8 Billion Trees, we planted over 5000 trees in 15 community/public schools through our #greenschoolsinitiative, and for this - we are extremely grateful to Jon Chambers, the CEO of 8 billion trees for this support.
This year we have received many more requests for tree seedlings from new schools who want to plant trees and we are expecting these requests to surge when schools re open, after they were forced to close down from April because of the Covid-19 global crisis. Again, in the midst of the coronavirus, 8 billion trees.com further supported us to plant another 1000 seedlings with one of our vibrant Maasai women groups, along with another 2 more groups of women from our other neighboring communities.
We are also grateful to 8 billion trees.com for accepting to promote the marketing and advertisement of handmade jewelry and bracelets from Maasai women on their website. While this effort has not received funding yet, the concept is quite exciting, especially in the promotion of economic empowerment among the Maasai women while at the same time support the planting of trees in their community.
As I write this, these women are already busy making beautiful handmade jewelry. The hope is that if these Maasai women find a sustainable market for their traditional artwork and jewelry products, they can have an alternative source of income and stop cutting down trees to support the livelihoods of their families.
Join us for Part IV of this series, in which we learn more about the #greenschoolsinitiative, and the challenges and successes of this enormous tree-planting project.
Follow Sam's work on instagram: @konzagreens
Learn more about his work with 8 Billion Trees.