“The establishment of this tree nursery is therefore our way of acknowledging the prophetic voices of our Popes whose words are well captured in the Encyclical and also responding to the appeal made by our current Pope to ‘work together in building our common home’," the CJPC Kakamega official said.
Established using the diocesan Lenten Fund and supported by the environmental charitable foundation, the Global GreenGrants Fund, the nursery is expected to have at least 20,000 seedlings by mid-September, Mr. Ambei told ACI Africa.
At the tree nursery, the leadership of CJPC Kakamega is propagating both exotic and indigenous trees such as Cypress, Caliandra, Mahogany, African Cherry (Prunus Africana), Markhamia Lutea and Whistling Pine, the Programs Officer said, adding, “We plan to further propagate bamboo, grevillea and some fruit trees as we approach the last quarter of this year.”
“You realize despite the popularity of the Blue gum tree, we have not included it in this project,” Mr. Ambei said and explained, “This is a deliberate decision made by the Diocese based on findings that have associated the unregulated planting of the species to adverse effects on the environment.”
The trees nurtured at the nursery will be distributed to approximately 500 diocesan institutions for planting, the CJPC official told ACI Africa and added in reference to the trees, “They will contribute to the ideal world of clean air and water. They will be used to rehabilitate waste lands in the Diocese. Every single tree is nurtured with the care of our common home in mind.”
Dubbed “The Model Tree Nursery,” the project has been established on the diocesan farm as one of the undertakings of the 42-year-old diocese “to participate meaningfully in dialogues and actions that result in a well conserved environment,” Mr. Ambei said.
The diocese, which currently has 41 Parishes also runs the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega School Based Environment Program (CDOK-SBEP) that was launched last year on the International Day of Forests, March 21 by the Local Ordinary, Bishop Joseph Obanyi, Mr. Ambei told ACI Africa during the August 7 interview.
The Program saw the leadership of the Kenyan Diocese partner with the government agency tasked with the sustainable management of forest resources, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) as well as the local County Government in sensitizing communities and school going children “on the need to conserve the environment by managing waste and planting trees.”