Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (FoASF) and Kenya Horticultural Society, North Coast District were delighted to host Anne Powys for the coast launch of her book Wild Flowers of Kenya and Northern Tanzania on Tuesday 22 October at the KWS education centre at the Gede entrance to the forest.
Chairman of FoASF Tukero Ole Kina welcomed over 50 people to the event and asked board member Dr Dino Martins to introduce his colleague and friend Anne Powys. Dino reminded people that we must remember whatever we are looking for on safari or in the forest plants come first.
Anne gave the history behind her book and how she was born and raised on Suyian Ranch in Laikipia. She refers to herself as an ethno botanist by experience with a considerable knowledge of the traditional uses of plants. She also has a long and deep association with the local pastoral communities. Her maternal grandfather was a forester in Kenya in the 1930s and with an upbringing filled with plant safaris – the path she chose is not surprising.
She encouraged the young students at the meeting to follow their passions as she had done. Crispin Sharp chairman of the KHS North Coast District thanked Anne for her inspiring talk and how delighted he was to bring members of the two organisations together in a formal way. He said “It is affirming and in a sense comforting to see so many people who share the aim of preserving and promoting the well-being of the forest, and at a broader level who are willing to work together to face the challenges of preserving our local environment and of sharing knowledge and expertise about it”.
Education project with funding from the Kilifi Gold Triathlon 2018
Ole Kina then gave the background to the recently concluded education programme that had been sponsored by the Kilifi Triathlon in 2018 with help from African Fund for Endangered Wildlife and told those present that nearly 1400 children from 37 schools from around the forest had been brought into the forest.
The three winners of the essay competition were at the meeting and given their certificates and prizes by Ole Kina as were their teachers and schools.
Third prize: Selina Sifa Kahindi; teacher Patricia Nyale; Mkongani Primary School
Second prize: Aisha Nyamvula; teacher Agnes Kananu Njuri; Bambakofi Academy
Winner: Christine Salama Charo; teacher Samson Kazungu Chengo; Girimacha Primary School
They were also awarded with a selection of species books including the Wildflowers of Kenya and Northern Tanzania which Anne Powys kindly donated.
In early November, these winners and their teachers will be taken to Tsavo East National Park for the day to look at the flora and fauna as a final reward for the efforts.
KWS Watamu warden Dadley thanked everyone for attending and said that it was important to keep an education programme going. He also thanked FoASF for their extraordinary contribution to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.
With thanks to Karin Duthie, Neem House for many of the lovely pictures.