Green Schools Program Update in Tanzania

Swadesh Padhi
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tanzania green schools program

Based in the Usambara Mountains of northern Tanzania, we are dedicated to tree planting, resource management, and other environmental conservation projects. We aim to conserve biodiversity in the Usambaras, reforest denuded lands to slow climate change globally and preserve soils and water locally, educate youth and provide them with improved nutrition from tree products, and help reduce poverty in the region. Our goal is to plant at least 250,000 trees in 2016, and more if sufficient funding is available.Based on its success with school tree nurseries, we conceived the Green Schools Program to help advance our conservation goals. Tree nurseries at 3 rural schools will grow a range of tree species from seed including those native to the rainforest, fruit trees including avocado, apple, macadamia, and peach, the super tree Moringa, plus other trees used for fodder and windbreaks.
tanzania green schools
Seedlings will be outplanted in the Magamba Nature Reserve to rebuild the forest cover. In addition, the project will plant trees to preserve the Lushoto water catchment basin, which supplies fresh water to over 20,000 people in the people in Lushoto Township and is important to the health of the Reserve. Trees will be planted along waterways to prevent future stream bank erosion. Fruit trees planted at the schools and on subsistence farms in agroforestry are a key element to the Green Schools Program. Besides providing much needed nutrition to the children and adults in the area, fruit tree cultivation protects fruit trees growing in the nature reserve.

Education is an important element of our work. Today’s children are tomorrow’s conservation leaders and this program creates youth development clubs where the students are put into leadership positions. The school tree nurseries serve as onsite science labs where the students can learn about and practice the scientific method by posing questions and answering them through experimentation. Kids learn from their supportive teachers, who integrate the Trees for the 21st Century curriculum into lessons about environmental conservation, botany, and horticulture, and then put the lessons into practice as they have fun growing and planting trees that beautify their school, their homes, and their region. This project follows the community participation model and local residents will volunteer in the nurseries and provide other types of in-kind support. Our goal is also to educate subsistence farmers about agroforestry so they can increase land productivity. It is our objective to educate the entire regional population about the importance of preserving and expanding the rainforest in the Magamba Nature Reserve, which is important to help Tanzania achieve Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals.
tanzania tree planting education
The Green Schools Program is designed to be a sustainable conservation project. Some of the trees will be sold to raise enough money to obtain inputs for the next “crop” of trees. The program has to make economic sense to the residents, which is why subsistence farmers are given seedlings to plant on their farms. As these trees grow to maturity, food from the fruit trees and Moringa will provide an additional income stream, helping people to improve their livelihoods and graduate from extreme poverty.

Swadesh Padhi
Encouraging the ForestNation community to plant more trees and give back to Mother Earth!

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