Varsity Marks National Tree Planting Day
The Mount Kenya University fraternity and partners participated in tree planting during The National Tree Planting day held today, Thursday, 22nd April 2021 at the MKU Botanic Garden, situated at MKU Happy Valley Gardens, Thika.
MKU has continued to play a critical role in climate change through conservation of environment by supporting planting of thousands of trees every year with an aim of increasing the national forest cover by 10% as stipulated in the Kenya constitution.
This year, MKU School of pharmacy in partnership with the College of graduate studies and Research, the community participated in planting of indigenous and medicinal plants in her botanic garden.
Theme for this year “Panda miti, Penda Kenya for sustainable development and climate conservation” is a clarion call to Kenyans to plant more trees.
Mr. Mwangombe (Assistant Chief Conservator of forests, Kenya) who was the chief guest appreciated the immense work that MKU has put in place in increasing the forest cover and investing in the Botanic Garden managed by MKU school of Pharmacy. He emphasized on the key role of Universities as Strategic Partners in Support of climate change through tree planting and the research interventions in matters of climate change.
MKU’s Partnerships in Ecosystem preservation were echoed by Prof. Simon N. Gicharu, Chairman, Board of Directors, Mount Kenya University. He noted with gratitude the following grants that the University has attracted in the recent past that are for related to environmental conservation:
- The School of Pure and Applied Sciences in collaboration with the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and other partners won a grant of 850,000 Euros in 2020 (Over 110 million Kenyan Shillings) as a grant to be utilized in the restoration of Brackenhurst forest, near Limuru in Kenya. Whose activities include:
• Assessment and protection of indigenous medicinal plants of Brackenhurst forest and determination of the medicinal components of the plants leading to their protection:
• Documentation and protection of indigenous medical plants of Brackenhurst forest.
- Mount Kenya University also won a grant £199, 894 (30, 295,934 kes) from Innovate UK grant to develop a novel and environmentally friendly female fruit fly protein baited trap (food bait) using local raw materials. This is expected to enhance sustainable management of fruit fly complex in Kenya and open up export market for Kenya mangoes. The grant will be implemented in partnership with the University of West of Scotland (UWS) and Farmtrack Consulting, a private company in Kenya specializing in sustainable management of agricultural pests.
In his speech the Chair, Board of management highlited that As a university, we shall commit to ensure that we do all that will be possible to contribute towards environmental conservation. His quote for the day and he said Like Wangari Maathai, “We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all” He urged the university to seek more partnerships with other organizations for environmental conservation. He also announced that management increased the annual budget for the current year by Ksh. 3,000,000 to develop the botanic garden and open it to the public
Additionally, I also urge the School of Pharmacy and Directorate of Research and Innovation to explore ways of exploiting this botanic garden for grant applications and income generating activities such as establishing a seedlings nursery, community training outreach activities including the training of botanists, ethnobiologists, conservationists, ethnomedicine practitioners from various counties and interested international parties.
Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi, Vice-Chancellor, urged MKU Directorate of Linkages together with all relevant schools to initiate collaborations with the Kenya Forestry College and the Department of the Kenya Forest Service to obtain seedlings for distribution to Kenyans at the counties through MKU Campuses in the effort to boost the Government’s target towards 10% of the forest cover by 2030.
Other partners in attendance were
- National and County Government representatives
- Mully Children’s home representative
- Botanic Gaden Manager, National Museums of Kenya
- Editor, Nafuu Magazine
- United States International University botanic garden representative
- MKU Alumni
- Former, Chair, Transition Authority, Kenya