• The annual event is organised by the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) to raise funds for the rehabilitation of Kenya's water towers.
• KFS chief conservator of forest Julius Kamau flagged off over 30 teams participating in the onerous run with over 13 challenging obstacles through the woodland.
Over 500 participants took part in the Forest Challenge held on November 30 at Kereita Forest in Kiambu County to raise funds for the rehabilitation of Kenya's forests.
The annual event, organised by the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) in partnership with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) marked six years since inception with the goal of reforesting 600 hectares of key water towers in Kenya.
Participants, both individual and those from corporate sponsors of The Forest challenge, waded through mud pits and rivers, tumbled up and down slippery trails all in the name of preserving and expanding, through afforestation, Kenya’s natural forests, many of which are the source of the country’s water supply.
“Our resolve and commitment to continue our efforts to conserve the environment for posterity has been reinforced further by the recent unfortunate landslide in West Pokot – a wakeup call for all of us to come together and try to mitigate such incidents by planting more trees, because when such a calamity occurs, we are all affected,” said Nancy Ogonje, the Executive Director of EAWLS.
KFS chief conservator of forest Julius Kamau flagged off over 30 teams participating in the challenge.
According to KFS, Kenya’s forests are on a rapid decline.
Deforestation is taking place at an alarming rate of 0.3 per cent each year due to pressure from increased population, wood fuels, building material, and other unsustainable land uses.
Kamau said the challenge seeks to reverse this trend by increasing awareness on forest conservation while helping to protect and manage the degraded forests of Kenya’s critical water towers.
"To attain the 10 per cent tree cover by 2022, one creative avenue for the service lies in forming partnerships with among other non-state actors, through tree planting initiatives that aim to spur a tree growing culture among our youth today," said Kamau.
The EAWLS is a pioneer conservation organisation in East Africa that has worked in the region since 1961.
In September, KFS said the country must plant at least 1.8 billion trees between now and 2022, a project that will cost Sh48 billion.
This translates to the collection and distribution of 90 tonnes of assorted tree seeds.
Kamau called on Kenyans to take responsibility and contribute to the goal of increasing the forest cover to 10 per cent.
In October, Kamau asked the Nyeri county government to consider planting at least five million trees in a year to green dry areas in the county.