Trees are sanctuaries whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
Recently we received students from Nairobi University Environmental Club. Prior to their visit communication had been going on back and forth to help facilitate the activities that were to be held. We had to inquire how many seedlings they wanted to plant to help in preparations e.g. pitting and staking out.They arrived at around 3.00pm and were warmly welcomed by the project coordinator Mr. Simon Ng’ang’a. They assembled at the tree nursery areawhere they were briefed.
briefing at the tree nursery area
Since the number of students expected exceeded the number of students who had confirmed and each wanted to plant a tree it was agreed that it would be demonstrated to them how to pit and stake then plant the seedlings by themselves.
Once they got to the site the project coordinator demonstrated how to remove the seedling from the potting tube without destroying it so that it could reused. The activity didn’t take long once they were done they decided to walk through the nature trails as they exited they learnt about the different types of trees and luckily for them they had a chance to see the African Crown eagle feeding on a Skye monkey it had caught. They left promising to come soon for another visit.
Ranger Steve Kamotho demonstrating how to plant a seedling
Digging more holes
If you want to plant a tree kindly get in touch with us on
In the recent past we have witnessed an increase in cases of illegal dumping of waste along the Cemetery Road, the road leads to the Sanctuary’s main gate and also serves as the exit from the Jamuhuri show ground. For a long time now, heaps of garbage has been randomly dumped at night at various points in the forest sections along the stretch with the worst cases occurring near the Cemetery road/Ngong road junction.
Some of the dumped waste
The CFA( Community Forest Association) has written to NEMA( National Environment Management Authority) and the City Council in the past on this issue and no action has been taken so far.The situation is now getting serious as the area is gradually degenerating into a ‘regular’ dump site, hence the need for immediate, collective and firm action from all concerned parties.
Freshly dumped waste
As a first step, The Trust is organized a cleanup event and welcomed the participation of all stakeholders in the CFA to this exercise that was scheduled to start at 10:00am at the Cemetery road/Ngong road junction.The City Council’s environment department accepted to assist with the disposal of the collected garbage . A group of students from the University of Nairobi also volunteered to join in the exercise on their way to a tree planting event at the Sanctuary later in the day.
local community, the city council staff members and volunteers during the clean up
After the clean up
Ngong Road forest Sanctuary’s project coordinator with some of the staff members from the city council
We also requested the City Council to install “No Dumping’ signage along the road to deter further dumping. We are encouraging all residents and neighbours of the forest to take individual responsibility to stop and/or report any cases of dumping in their neighbourhoods. Let us all and individually choose to make a difference in our own little ways.
On the 21st and 22nd of March, we had a visit from some children, we hosted them at the Imre Loefler Education centre where they were briefed by the Education Officer. Since some of the children did not speak English, they had a teacher who was able to translate to them in order to understand.
briefing at the education centre
They learnt basic things on insects and bee keeping. On insects the pupils were shown various types of butterflies and beetles that are mounted in The Education Centre.
catching and observing insects
rangers educating children on butterflies
The pupils got to meet Durney Mitchell who taught them how the butterflies and beetles are caught and preserved for future references. The pupils were also taken to the Apiary for some bee keeping knowledge and round the nature trails where they saw monkeys, red duikers, aardvark hole and porcupine quills.
Mitchel and the kids
That being the end of their visit we appreciate and invite every other person for some outdoor learning.
Quiet roads and gentle hills makes ideal rides for families. On Sunday 24th March, 2013 we will be hosting a cycling/run family fun day. The event which is scheduled to start at 8.00 and end at around 12:30 pm is organized by H&A Sports in collaboration with Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary.
Lately we have been busy with the preparations for the event. Clearing the paths and marking the trails has been some of the things we have been working on. The adults will be covering 10km while the Kids will be covering 5km.
photos of clearing and marking boundaries for guidance and safety of the cyclist
We hope to see you all here.
For more information and clarifications kindly get in touch with us on:
Prior to the rains we are experiencing lately there was a very dry spell. On one of our daily patrols I couldn’t help but wonder how the animals and the trees were surviving i.e. the monkeys, the baboons, the bush backs ,the duikers and the sunis just to name a few. If this season continues, the grass will dry up, the trees will wither and safari ants will start their trips from one point to another.
safari ants making way to the ground
Baboons trying to survive
My mission hence changed apart from the normal patrolling I would try and observe how the animals and the trees were coping with the dry spell. Before long I bumped into a large herd of cows grazing in the forest and on further inquiry I discovered some Maasai herdsmen had sneaked them into the forest to graze lest they die of hunger.
cows grazing in the forest
Luckily I found out that there was enough for the animals to eat as the trees were filled with fruits which I knew that the monkeys, baboons and the birds would enjoy. For the bush backs and the sunis there was enough grass to feed on but I also learnt that they can supplement their diet for any other plants they can reach. My concern then became if they would have sufficient water as the river and the streams were drying up pretty fast.
rivers drying up
We thank The Almighty the rains are finally here..
The Sanctuary has been working closely with the adjacent communities more so in poverty alleviation by establishing projects that are beneficial to the communities but at the same time environmentally friendly. Currently a women group from Kibera, Ngando and Mutoini Slums has installed 200 hives in beekeeping enterprise.
On Sunday we hosted guests from honey care Africa, the aim of their visit was to see the whole process of modern beehive inspection and honey harvesting. They arrived at 10:00 am and found the rangers waiting for them with two of the community women who are involved in the bee keeping enterprise.
on the way to the apiaries
After a brief welcome and introductions they put on protective clothing and we headed to the apiaries. We learnt that the beehives are hanged on trees in order to trap bees easily and when constructing a beehive, a foundation layer of wax is put on the frames to attract bees and at the same time give them a foundation on which to build their honey combs. We examined each hive thoroughly noting down the progress of each.
putting on protective clothes
We noted that one of the hives was occupied scout bees. The scout bees’ work is to asses the suitability of the habitat before the whole colony can move in. To most people the scout bee looks like other active bees but once you get a closer look, you are able to notice small differences in their behavior. Scout bees are not as aggressive as other active bees since their work is not to protect the hive. We also learnt from Mr. Jeff a hive specialist that the scout bee assesses an area for three days before deciding to move in or move on.
examining the hives
using bee smokers
a hive with scout bees
The guests were very impressed with the progress of the bee keeping project and encouraged the women to keep up with the good work they were doing.
On Saturday we hosted the Chase Bank staff and their families for a family fun day charity walk through their Chase Group Foundation. The walk was themed as `Stand up for African mothers’ whose aim was to raise funds for reducing maternal deaths in rural areas through the training of midwives. The guests arrived early, excited and ready to support African mothers; they were welcomed in open arms. To begin the day, they were led through a warm up session to prepare them for the walk.
preparing for the walk
Security was tight and this was with the help of the KFS rangers, G4S, the Kenya police and the traffic police and not forgetting a couple of ambulances for health safety and first aid. Just to sum up, safety at the event was 100% guaranteed.
Kenya red cross for first aid
The walk started at around 9:30 with the adults covering 10km and the children 5 km, there were some designated stop over points where they got refreshments (water) to re-energize them to complete the walk. The finish line for both the adults and the children led to the picnic site where they were welcomed to music from a DJ, team building games and of course some comedy laughter from our very own Churchill Ndambuki , a.k.a Mwalimu King’ang’i who was also the MC of the event. Corporates and individuals then came forth and donated money to the foundation to stand up for The African mother.
bouncing castle for the kids
Churchill the MC
DJ Andre on the decks
The turn up was so successful with over 1000 participants and the number of companies associated with the event was ecstatic. The participants enjoyed every bit of it.
We welcome more and more Corporates to hold events at the Sanctuary.
Over the years population increase in Nairobi City has led to overcrowding in the few leisure spots available, e.g. Nairobi National Park, the arboretum, Uhuru Park e.t.c. The Sanctuary is therefore timely in offering yet another alternative. Its an ideal location due to its uniqueness of being an indigenous forest within a city. (N: B it’s the only indigenous forest in the world within a city.) And given that its only 6km from the city center. The Trust has further constructed an ample and secure visitor Car Park facility and an access road together with a footpath to the Education center.
Various organizations have found the Sanctuary as a perfect destination for their corporate day events due to the many attractive sites it offers.
Tomorrow we will be hosting the Chase Bank staff and their families in a charity event aimed at raising fund for reducing maternal death rates in rural areas through training the midwives. The main objective is to raise funds to help reduce maternal mortality by improving the access to health reproductive services. The walk aims to raise 20 million through individual participation and corporate sponsorship.
More corporate events are set to come up soon, we will keep you posted.
Last Friday we were privileged to host students from Banda Preparatory School visiting the sanctuary for an ecology class. They arrived at the Sanctuary at around 10am where they were ushered into the Imre Loefler Education Center. They were welcomed by the project coordinator Mr. Simon Ng’ang’a who in turn handled them over to the Education Officer Mr. Nickson.
Arrival at Ngong road forest sanctuary
At the education center
They were each given the materials and questionnaire that they would be using before they headed to the forest they got to view the mounted specimen of different butterflies and insects. They then headed to the nursery where they got to see the different type of tree seedlings and were given a brief speech on the importance of conservation and the need to plant more trees.
Education officer briefs the students
At the nursery
We then headed to the first area of study where the dominant plantation were the eucalyptus trees we learnt about the a biotic factor, recorded the light intensity, wind deflection, soil ph and measured the temperature.
at the eucalyptus trees
Secondly we were to identify as many examples as possible of the human impact in the area e.g. evidence of chopped wood, horse footprints, human footpaths, vandalized fence, bee hives and any signs of cow dung. Our third task was to describe the habitat, identify the number of different features on the different species available, the type of leaves, how they are pollinated, seed dispersal method and distribution of the species. With the information gathered we were to draw a food chain and a pyramid from the food chain.We then had a lunch break after which we headed to the open field where we used the quadrants to count the tissue paper plants. We thereafter headed to the parking area where they exited after having a successful day
At the grasslands
My colleague and I were on our normal forest patrol, everything seemed normal until we decided to visit the southern bypass which cuts across the forest to see the latest development on the ongoing road construction.
Lorry full of toxic waste
It didn’t take us long to notice that some of the Lorries which we thought had brought materials for construction, were actually busy dumping toxic waste in the forest. Previously they had been caught dumping and warned severely against it, of which it now seemed like it fell on deaf ears.
As the Lorries were dumping some of the slum dwellers were busy collecting pieces of metals, plastic, actually anything they could sell and get some sort of income.
Slum dwellers busy collecting the plastics
We immediately ordered them to stop and exit the forest and we informed the authorities. We hope a stern action will be taken against them.
Story by Ranger Nicholas Akach