Nicholsons build a nursery in Africa
In recent years Nicholsons have concentrated their charitable efforts towards the Rafiki Thabo foundation which supports students through tertiary education. However, we felt that we could additionally use our own knowledge and expertise within the ecological business to benefit others on a more personal level. After much in-depth research into existing charities and foundations, we could not find the perfect solution. However, we did meet a business partner with similar charitable aims and objectives, and most importantly – a training centre for sustainability. We sent out a team of four to begin work on a project in Kenya to build the Mara Tree Nursery.
This is something that, not only do we have some knowledge on but are passionate about too. In cooperation with the Mara Beef Foundation, we have taken the first small steps to setting up the Mara Tree Nursery, which will hopefully have a production of 60,000 trees per annum which has potential to be increased if all goes well!! We may know a lot about producing great stock in the UK, but Africa is a very different story!
The aim of our Kenyan project was to create a tree nursery that focusses on the growth of indigenous species in the Mara region of Kenya. The Mara Tree Nursery has been built in order to counter deforestation in the local area, to provide resistance against ground erosion and to combat the carbon footprint left by visitors coming to the Mara region. The nursery will be important in terms of afforestation and conservation of natural habitats, it will help to revive and restore the ecosystem and will contribute towards providing a sustainable future. 25% of the Mara forest region has suffered complete deforestation due to grazing in the past 17 years. Being able to be a small part of combatting this horrific loss is something that will not only benefit this region of Kenya but improve air quality throughout the globe.
In the week that the team, along with the local people, spent creating the nursery, we managed to dig all the beds for the seeds, put in the surrounding fence and erect shade netting to screen the trees from the beating sun when they are planted.
The tree nursery will be built with long-term growth in mind, hopefully, this will provide a mainframe on which to base future projects. Establishing the Mara Tree Nursery will also provide the Mara Training Centre with an opportunity to develop further training for local people and farmers around the concept of agroforestry. This will increase economic sustainability and environmental health in the local area by employing local people and repopulating the surrounding forest area.
The aim of the project is that a percentage of the trees will be sold to landowners on the Naretoi estate (a region of ecotourism), this money will help support the careers of the nursery employees. The majority of the trees will be given to schools and local landowners with a training package that will aim to increase knowledge of trees and hopefully gain more interest from children in local schools. We will keep you all updated on this exciting development very soon.