Ever had a crazy idea? Not quite sure how you would accomplish what you envisioned, but you were so determined to see it through regardless of the challenges along the way? This roughly describes how my Tree Planting Challenge began.

Seedlings at Chesa Forest Burnside

I have spent past months talking about the importance of planting trees, creating awareness and encouraging tree planting. I had planted trees in different places but I wanted to do something that would get more people talking about the importance of tree planting and involved in environmental preservation! I decided I would plant 2000trees (indigenous, exotic and fruit trees) at 50schools over a 5day period. This would equal 40trees a school.

With the students of Manondwane Primary School

The Forestry Commission was extremely helpful in the sourcing of seedlings. We received seedlings from Lupane, Tsholotsho, Gweru and some from local nurseries. All the trees we donated by well wishers which made the process less arduous. The Bulawayo City Council assisted in coordinating the digging of holes for the tree planting and transporting me to each school participating in the exercise.

This has by far been the most life changing experience of my life. The children were excited to be planting trees, the school heads welcomed us with much joy as we provided something they desperately needed; TREES. I visited places in Bulawayo I most likely would have never seen, I met over 2000 children during the week, whose smiles and youthful chuckles remain embedded on my heart. I came to realize to a greater extent the disparities that exist between schools in low density suburbs and high density suburbs. But most importantly I managed to achieve my goal of planting 2000trees and managed to even exceed the target.

Thanks to the media coverage of the tree planting, more people in Bulawayo are talking about going green, the importance of trees and what role they too can play.

Cameraman from Zimbabwe TV recording the treeplanting

Something as simple as planting a tree brought me in contact with so many people i would have otherwise never met. If in a week, I and school children could plant 2000trees what more can be done by the Zimbabwean people as a whole? December 3rd 2011 marks the National Tree Planting Day. You too can leave your mark on Mother Earth by planting a tree. If each person in Zimbabwe plants a tree on December 3rd, we can plant over 13million trees.

Charles Mashingaidze explaining tree species to the children

I would like to thank The Forestry Commission Bulawayo for their assistance with sourcing trees and especially Charles Mashingaidze who went to each school with me and taught children on the importance of trees. I would also like to thank the Bulawayo City Council especially the Parks department as well as the Education office. Most importantly I would like to thank the schools we received us with such warmth. For allowing us to disturb their schedules to plant trees. All the children that sang for me, recited poems and all the food I was fed. I did not expect such a great reception and I am forever grateful.

Students of Nketa Primary waving goodbye to us!

What will you be doing December 3rd?


2 thoughts on “2000 TREES, 50 SCHOOLS, 5DAYS…

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