Kisii's tree ambassador

Some of the tree nurseries she has Isabella on her farm.

Gusii region is well known, not just for its geographic features but also for its trademark rainfall that makes it a green region all year round.

That it has not had rainfall for the past three months is something the locals are not used to. A tour of the region confirms that, just like other parts of the country, this region is also contending with drought that is quickly turning its lush green vegetation into a lifeless brown colour.

Streams and rivers are also drying up forcing residents to walk kilometres to get water which is a new experience for them.

Many are left wondering what could be the cause of this new state of affairs and Ufanisi Resort Manager Isabella Lumumba, has the answer — wanton destruction of trees.

“Residents only appear to beabout the present, cutting indigenous trees to make homes and not replacing these,” she says.

Isabella Lumumba who hopes to restore Kisii’s greenery. [PHOTOS: ROSEMARY ONCHARI/STANDARD]

Lack of knowledge has also seen locals plant blue gum trees near the rivers without being aware that these tree species absorbs water and will dry up the water sources.

Not content to sit back and apportion blame, Isabella has decided to educate residents on the need to plant trees and the right species. She has planted various indigenous tree species in her home and is actively working with the community to educate them on conserving their environment.

“I have a variety of trees: Elyptus, Meru Oak, Kassod Tree, African Olive, Moringa, Yellow wood Waterpear, avocado, mango, pawpaw are among species found in my farm.

I also intend to plant a million trees every year in primary and secondary schools within the region as a way of educating the public on the importance of indigenous trees”.

Isabella is content to do this on her own saying her mentor, Wangari Maathai, was also a solo crusader yet she made an impact that continues to be felt to date.

“I admired this environmentalist since I was a child and I have decided to walk in her footsteps in order to restore the region’s landscape that has been affected by tree logging,” she says.

Isabella’s appeal to residents has been: Plant just ten tree seedlings and this will make a difference in everyone’s lives. She also believes civic education is needed to make residents aware of the key role trees play in safeguarding their future and that of their children.

“We all need clean water, fresh air to breath and cool environments to live in. This can only be realised if we pull together to conserve our environment by planting trees,” she says.

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