Mike Bungei (centre) with Miss Forest, Maureen Ngugi and 1st Runner-Up, Miss Judy Faida at the function.
The Mayor, Board of Trustees Chairman, MoFW representative Mr. Kabugi are led by Miss Forest team in cutting the ribbon to launch the tree planting
Maureen Ngugi, the reigning Miss Forest stands next to the plaque and is assisted in planting a tree by Miss. Judy Faida
On Saturday the 20th March, 2010, the Mount Kenya University was abuzz with activities that were geared towards conservation of the environment. It was also in tandem with the inauguration of The Forest Queen 2009, Miss Maureen Ngugi who is a student in the University. The event was also used as part of the World Forestry Day celebrations.
The function was attended by the His Worship the Mayor of Thika, Mr. John Wandui, The Mount Kenya University Board of Trustees Chairman Mr. Simon Gicharu representing the Vice Chancellor who was away. The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife was represented by several officers including the Forest Conservation Director, Mr. Hewson Kabugi representing the Permanent Secretary Mr. Mohammed Wa Mwachai who could not also make it to the event due to some unavoidable circumstances.
Speaking at the proposed site for Mount Kenya University Campus expansion during the event, Mr. Kabugi said the Government was encouraging everybody to plant trees to ensure that 4.1 million hectares will have been covered by the year 2030. He said that by doing so, the country will have an impressive 10% forest cover from the paltry 2% which is the current forest cover.
He appealed to Kenyans to ensure that at least 10% of their land is covered with trees. Kabugi also said that the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in conjunction with other stakeholders would ensure that all forest areas are rehabilitated. Schools and other institutions were called upon to plant trees in their respective compounds. He noted that the Government will come up with a national forest program that would enhance environmental restoration. He commended the University for being the pioneers in starting a forest of its own of about 20, ooo trees and urged other institutions to follow their example.
The University Board of Trustees Chairman Mr. Simon Gicharu told the gathering that the Campus had spent a whopping Ksh.7 M to fence off the campus site to keep off the grazing animals that have in the past been destroying the seedlings. He also said that the University had embarked on the project to lead in the way or reclaiming and restoring the forest cover. He gave out the benefits of trees as more rain, water and palatable environment.
His worship the Mayor of Thika, Mr.Wandui said that the council was proud to be associated with the University and would provide seedlings and manure to supplement the project.
During the event, Miss Forest Queen 2009 was inaugurated with the reigning Miss Forest Queen, Miss Maureen Ngugi unveiling a plaque and cutting a cake. She was assisted by the 1st Runners up Miss Judy Faida who is a student at JKUAT. She thanked the University, the Kenya Forest Service and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife for the support she has been accorded to reach where she was. She also encouraged the other Universities to start projects like the one she was involved in to encourage the youth to be on the forefront in environmental conservation activities.
Story & Pictures- Courtesy Anne Kaari & Rahab Gitau