In February 2019 we held our first Tree Planting day for St Michael’s Zone, with the intention of repeating this project each February but first of all we needed to monitor how effective our pilot was.
We chose February for the Tree Planting Day for two main reasons, firstly it was in the middle of the rainy season and secondly there were no exams on in school and the learners were able to take time out to prepare the land, collect the trees and plant them.
We discovered that in some instances the survival rate for the trees was as low as 50%, a figure we believed was much too low. Conversations with a Malawian forester ensued and he gave us two pieces of advice
- To bring Tree Planting Day forward to the beginning of December, to coincide with the start of the rains and that way leaving a longer time for the tree seedlings to flourish during the rainy season
- To ensure that teachers and learners received training in how to plant and care for trees
This advice we carefully followed and in the last few weeks another 3000+ trees have been planted.
In encouraging schools and the community to plant trees we are working to reduce deforestation whilst providing a source of indigenous timber. The fruit trees serve to increase the nutritional content of local peoples diets with many of our hybrid trees fruiting after only 18 months.
In schools, the education about trees is essential as a very small step towards managing Climate Change, the effect of which is so very obvious.