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Tree planting in honor of Wangari Maathai

My name is Dino J. Martins, I am a Kenyan entomologist and I love insects. The Kiswahili word for insect is dudu and if you didn’t know already, insects rule the world! Thanks to the amazing efforts of the ‘little things that run the world’ I was humbled to be selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. This blog is a virtual dudu safari through the fascinating world of bugs. Enjoy, leave a comment and send any questions or comments to me through: insects.eanhs@gmail.com


Yesterday Kenya and the world celebrated the life of Prof. Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 who recently passed away. As part of the activities in her honour, across the country communities came together to plant trees. The Turkana Basin Field School students joined the Friends of Lake Turkana, Forestry Department officials, members of the IRC committee in Lodwar and students and teachers of the St Michael Kawalase Primary school in a tree planting exercise.

The activities were organized by Ikal Angelei, who is a leading champion for local social and environmental issues, as well as coordinating many of the activities of the Turkana Basin Institute. Ikal is a passionate and able spokesperson and activist leading the fight for a better environment, livelihoods and justice in Turkana. It was a great honour and privilege for the students and myself to participate in this humble and powerful exercise.

Ikal Angelei and the headteacher Mr Keem address the students, as Mr Kenyaman, the scoutmaster and a champion for tree-planting looks on.

We planted trees at two different locations: at the St. Michael Kawalase Primary School as well as at a camp for Internally Displaces People near Lodwar. Ikal noted how the example and life of Wangari Maathai had inspired people all over the world and how important trees were for human life and livelihoods in the drylands of Turkana.

Ikal plants the first seedling of the day at the school


Ikal carefully fills in the earth around the seedling

Then it was the Field School students’ turn to get their hands into the soil…

Hui gets her seedling ready for planting


Roy helps fill in some earth around the seedling


Elaine waters the first seedling planted by the TBI students


Sarah waters her seedling


Kait gets her seedling ready for planting


The Forestry Department helped plant several of the seedlings

After the seedlings were planted, the students thanked the school and community members for the opportunity to help out.

Wes thanks the students, teachers and tells the students the importance of studying hard

The humble act of planting trees and caring for the environment is the first step towards making the world a better place for us all…







    October 10, 2011, 9:34 am

    Green Africa Foundation congratulates you for the good work that you do especially reporting on environmental matters.we invite you to view our website at http://www.greenafricafoundation.org and learn our recent program that we have launched in memeory of Wangari Maathai.
    On the same not, we are interested in partnering with you as we conserve our Mother Nature.below is the press release:
    Press Release 7th October,2011
    Today we are here( Wangari Mathai Institute site, University of Nairobi Upper Kabete Campus) to launch the 71 Tree Initiative, to honor the life of Prof. Wangari Maathai. Green Africa Foundation, Kenya Forest Service and UNEP seek to ensure that Wangari’s life that represented Green in totality will be in three fold!
    1. Treating people kindly- good ethics and training on life skills.
    2. Working towards good health, peace within communities and creating sustainable livelihoods.
    3. Environmental conservation.
    This is to be the first planting of 71 trees for Wangare for her commemoration, as the establishment of “The Wangare Green Corner (WGC)”, of which we suggest an area to be occupied by the 71 trees, i.e
    36m by 18m or 640sq meters (a distance of 3m by 3m),
    0.16 acres of land (one may also spread it wide to fit in a half of an acre)
    Two lines will stretch to 106.5 meters.
    Three lines will occupy 71 meters.
    Targeted Institutions
    Learning Institutions (including NGOs, CBOs, Individuals)
    Faith Based Institutions
    Music and sports Groups,
    Targeted number of institutions in Kenya
    Primary Schools 25,000
    Secondary Schools 9,500
    Churches, Mosques, Temples 18,000
    Tertiary Institutions 1,000
    Women, Youth, Music, sports groups 25,500
    Total Number of Institutions 79,000
    Total number of tree seedlings to be planted is 5.6 million
    According to the National Census 2009, there are total of 5.6 million households in Kenya that use firewood for cooking every day.
    A research done by Green Africa Foundation indicates that each household uses a minimum of 10kgs of firewood for preparation of Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ten Kilograms of fire wood is the average equivalent of a three year old fast growing tree. Our Country Kenya therefore depletes 5.6 million trees every day in one way or another through direct use of firewood. An additional 13.3 % of Kenya’s population depends on Charcoal for cooking!
    Hence the 71 trees ( Wangari Green Corner) campaign seek to grow a minimum of 5.6 million trees before her anniversary next year, and thereafter trillions more across the continent towards a Green Africa!
    The cost of each Corner will be Kshs 2,130 or USD 21.3(71 seedlings @ kshs 30 or USD 30 cents each) and a further Kshs 30 or USD 30 cents for preparing the hole ( we suggest that the hole preparation be done in kind and seedlings be produced and the village level). Together with the Kenya Forest Service and various partners, we have lined up various institutions at the community level to supply such seedlings and have set up a network that may expedite the progress. You may text your comments to Safaricom no 505 900. You may also identify institutions that are willing to establish the WGC from the same number or email info@greenafricafoundation.org.
    One will be expected to email or present a photo of the established WGC where the 71 trees shall be grown for posterity. The International Community is welcome to join in and they will get an update on the actual location of their ‘Wangari Green Corner’. You are also free to establish your WGC at a place of your own choice and in your own way and forward information to us.
    The program further seeks to enhance the Green spirit that Prof consistently fought for.
    It may never suffice to mention that the jobs that shall be created through this initiative as we embrace the Spirit of Prof Wangari for posterity may be mind- boggling.
    Through this partnership, Kenya Forest Services will give professional advice and also distribute seedlings through their existing 71 stations countywide. The Secretariat will be located at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi .
    Faith Based Organizations, learning institutions, NGOs, CBOs, The Rotary Clubs and various Government Ministries have already expressed the willingness to support this initiative. Are You???
    Prof Wangare’s Spirit must remain alive. It is the little things that we do that matter most! Let us choose to plant only 71 trees! A tree for each year she lived with and among us!
    Think Green, act green!
    Dr. Isaac P Kalua HSC
    Founder, Chairperson, Green Africa Foundation