Mountain Dispatches – News from Mount Kenya Trust

(Posted 14th September 2022)



Rangers participating in a mountain clean-up.


MOUNTAIN DISPATCHES
April – August 2022


Following months of fighting fires on the mountain we got just patches of rain and still had to contend with some fire management between June and July, this is unheard of, and a stark reminder that climate change impacts are escalating with each year.

We have added two youth projects to our many programmes since our last newsletter. We ran our first Junior Rangers Programme between April and August and our new Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health project, which are components of our Environmental Education and Community Health Services projects. Our rangers received Ranger Lifesaver training and took part in a stakeholder clean-up on Mount Kenya.
The third Wildlife Ranger Challenge was launched in July to tie in with World Ranger Day celebrations across the continent. Our Horse Patrol Team are taking part in this year’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge. The 4 participants have been training hard for the challenges. Please support the Horse Patrol Team by  following our community rangers on social media and through the Wildlife Ranger Challenge website.

Please donate to the cause using this link or the button provided later in the report. 

All donations are MATCHED!!* Thank you for your support *Mount Kenya Trust is an award finalist!



Mount Kenya Trust is delighted to have been nominated as finalists in for the African Conservation Awards in the BEST TEAM category!

 For more information about the awards and the incredible individuals and finalist teams here!



TREE PLANTING

Although rainfall was sporadic and localized, we were able to plant 49,514 trees in Lower Imenti and 10,000 trees in Upper Imenti once some it finally appeared. In Lower Imenti a newly opened site was planted while the trees planted in Upper Imenti were to replace those that hadn’t survived after the previous planting season. We had a set target of planting 150,000 trees in Lower Imenti and Karuri but erratic rainfall made it difficult for us to achieve this target. We don’t plant seedlings unless we are sure there is enough moisture in the soil. We strive to grow trees so planting is only done when the weather conditions give us the best opportunity to deliver high survival rates.

On Earth Day, 22nd April, we planted trees on Lusoi Hill together with the local Community Forest Association (CFA). We’ve also committed to help the CFA setup their own tree nursery to help them continue to restore the deforested hill as they continue to take care of the previously planted trees. We have prepared the site and planted castor trees which will act as windbreaks to protect the growing saplings from frost.


Top image: Community members planting trees. Bottom images: Community members offloading tree seedlings and distributing them to plots for planting

MOUNTAIN CLEAN-UP

Following a request by the Kenya Wildlife Service’s (KWS) Senior Warden Mount Kenya National Park, 15 of our rangers joined a group of volunteers in clean-up exercises on Mt. Kenya. The majority of the volunteers were the local porters and guides. The aim of the exercise was to collect the litter left behind by hikers (and guides and porters!) along the three major hiking routes on Mt. Kenya, that is Sirimon, Naromoru and Chogoria routes. The teams managed to collect hundreds of kilograms of plastic bottles, plastic bags and other waste.

The Senior Warden sent us the message below: “On behalf of KWS, Mt Kenya National Park, please accept our Appreciation for the excellent job you and your team did of cleaning Mt Kenya National Park climbing routes i.e., Naromoru, Sirimon and Chogoria routes. We thank your team for the enormous support to volunteer and willingness to undertake the activity that was smoothly and efficiently done. Thanks to your leadership and dedication combined with teamwork and energy. The park is now clean and we call upon all the stakeholders to support this initiative by observing the required guidelines. Please pass our gratitude to all team members. Thank you!”- Wellington Gathungu


Top images: The teams collecting and carrying litter on Mt. Kenya.

LAUNCH OF NEW PROGRAMMES



JUNIOR RANGERS PROGRAMME

After two years of postponement due to the pandemic, we were thrilled to roll out the Junior Ranger Programme in May! The education team did a great job in preparing all the materials and liaising with the schools to ensure everything was in place.



The team began with grade 5, selecting 20 pupils in 4 schools (Kirimara, Kangaita, Nkiria and Ontulili Primary Schools) and ran the interactive modules with them once a week from 3:10PM – 4:10PM on scheduled days.

The last 2 modules were field-based. The students patrolled with some of our rangers in the elephant corridor and the top 46 students were taken to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s Education Centre for a field trip. Spending time with the rangers gave them some insight into what a Ranger’s day is like. Some of the students were fortunate enough to celebrate World Ranger Day with our teams after they visited the Elephant Corridor. We were happy to see the students engage and experience the module with such avid enthusiasm and commitment!


Top image: Students looking examining an elephant skull at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Bottom left: A drawing by one of the JRP participating students. Bottom right: Students on a game drive in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

ADOLESCENT SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS PROGRAMME (ASRHR)

We began our new ASRHR project in June. It is a pilot project that targets 10 schools that have had high school dropout numbers due to a rising number of teenage pregnancies. The pandemic is one of the reasons why there has been a startling increase in pregnancies across the country.  An introductory session was carried out in June which proved to be extremely interactive with students being very honest and open about the problems they face.

In July, we trained 50 students and 20 teachers as Peer Counselors and Guidance Counselors respectively. The students and teachers were selected from the 10 schools in Meru County that we are currently working with. They were trained by the Ministry of Health on the issues affecting adolescents (10 – 19 years). Some of the topics covered were adolescence and puberty, the Reproductive System, myths about reproduction, gender stereotypes, sexuality and self-esteem. We brought in discussions about population and the environment in relation to natural security and the links between them. The students and teachers discussed environmental issues, their impact and possible solutions.

So far, the sessions have been very interactive and both the students and teachers are eager to learn. We look forward to holding more sessions to address the various issues and seeing the impact that the project will have.


Image: Training of students and teachers for the ASRHR programme.

RANGER LIFESAVER TRAINING

At the beginning of July, we conducted the third Ranger Lifesaver Training for 12 of our rangers at the HPT base. This was the first team to be trained on the full course which took 4 consecutive days to complete. Our certified LEAD Ranger Instructors Martin Kinyua and Robert Murega conducted the training. Some of the targeted training deliverables were the RLS kit, scene safety, the C-A-T tourniquet, wound packing and hypothermia prevention. It’s wonderful to have in-house instructors who can pass on their knowledge! 




Image: Martin Kinyua demonstrating and ensuring that the rangers are doing the right thing.

LEWA SAFARI MARATHON

It was a privilege for our community rangers and office staff to support the annual Lewa Safari Marathon after 2 years where only virtual events were possible for Tusk and the Lewa team. Our community rangers were asked to assist the larger security team at the event, and some of our office staff manned the MKT Water Stop. Funds raised by the marathon have helped keep our mountain conservation projects – our patrol teams in particular – active for many many years.
Apart from being one of the most exciting events Kenya boasts on its annual sporting calendar, the Lewa Safari Marathon is a vital source of support for Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s community conservation projects and a large number of other conservation organizations like Mount Kenya Trust. We are always excited to be part of this unique event which is hugely popular with our Kenyan running champions as well as international participants from all over the globe.


WORLD RANGER DAY

World Ranger Day is celebrated worldwide on July 31st to commemorate Rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and to celebrate the work Rangers do to protect the planet’s natural treasures and cultural heritage. We could not miss out on celebrating our unsung heroes. We spent the day doing team-building activities and the different ranger teams were competing with each other. The day was filled with cheering, laughter and banter. Everyone was happy with the day’s activities, especially the winning team that got a voucher. We also filmed the short video below.
WILDLIFE RANGER CHALLENGE

The Wildlife Ranger Challenge was launched on the 27th of July, ahead of World Ranger Day. WRC, organized by Tusk, celebrates rangers and is raising much-needed funds to support their work. Culminating on 17th September 2022 after a series of physical and mental challenges, 94 wildlife ranger teams across 16 countries will unite for the 2022 WRC half marathon with one goal: to raise money to support the men and women on the front line of Africa’s protected areas.

Mount Kenya Trust is one of the lucky organizations participating (for the third year) in this incredible event.

Help us to raise funds for Mount Kenya Trust’s Horse Patrol Team via the World Ranger Challenge by clicking the button below.

Every donation is MATCHED by the Scheinberg Relief, doubling the impact of your contribution.

PLEASE SUPPORT US TODAY



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