KAMPALA– In an effort to restore and preserve natural resources, environmentalist Jonah Kirabo, through his Green Futures Initiative, planted over 300 trees in the forest surrounding the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC).
This was accomplished through their on-going, Pamper A Tree campaign. By 2025, the campaign hopes to have planted 5 million trees across Uganda.
“As part of our efforts to restore Uganda’s declining forest cover, we recently finished planting 300 trees here at the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, which many locals prefer to call the Entebbe Zoo, said Kirabo.
“Though Uganda’s forest is in danger, the zoo is an exciting and enjoyable place to see and learn about its animals and ecosystems. Particularly now, when our nation is dealing with severe climate disasters, I think that young people have a part to play in restoring nature,” he added.
The Green Futures Initiative is a youth-led initiative that aims to reacquaint young people with nature through waste management advocacy, tree-growing, and climate education.
In order for the tree seedlings to grow, their current “pamper a tree” campaign aims to involve and educate young people about how to not only plant trees but also to “pamper” them by watering and caring for them.
“We discovered that many people plant trees but neglect to properly care for them, which frequently results in losses. Therefore, we involve them in the process to ensure that they learn to treat trees with the same care that one would show a loved one,” said Kirabo.
He continued, “Trees unquestionably deserve our love because they help us breathe, act as wind breakers, slow down the flow of water, and can be very effective in the fight against climate change.”
Over 500 trees have already been planted as a result of the Green Futures Initiative and its partners. According to Kirabo, they are open to working with any partners who want to help them reach their goal of five million by 2025.
Horticulturist Atukwase Ritah of UWEC believes that programmes like Green Futures should receive more support because they have the potential to educate and inspire a large number of young people and children about environmental issues.
As part of her work, Atukwase said, “Our wildlife conservation involves both plants and animals, and one of the activities we strongly encourage is re-afforesting areas that have been severely degraded and growing forests from the ground up in areas that had none before.”
“When other young people see such initiatives, they will be inspired to protect the environment, which is why it is good that we have such youth groups,” said Atukwase.
The five million tree project, according to the founder of the Green Futures Initiative, was made possible by LEAP Africa’s Youth Day of Service.
Other implementing partners, like Fridays for Future Uganda, Trip Addicts, and Earth Volunteers, have joined them.