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Kenyans Flock to Fields and Parks to Ring in 3-Day Weekend for New National Tree-Planting Holiday

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) Head of Conservancy Mr. Fred Ogombe planting a tree during the Participatory Forest Management Plan in 2019. CC 2.0. Violet Atieno/CIFOR

Kenyans have a new holiday on their working calendar—something like a Kenyan Arbor Day when citizens are encouraged to go plant two tree seedlings.

It’s part of the nation of 50 million’s plan to contribute to slowing global warming, and the seedlings will be provided to families for free from sponsored nurseries.

While many in the cities will simply be enjoying another day off, BBC and Africa News spoke with several residents who felt happy to contribute to both the macro and micro environmental destiny of Kenya.

“I have come to plant trees here, because our water levels have been diminishing. Even here at the river source, the levels are very low, trees have been cleared,” Mr. Stephen Chelulei told the BBC.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get out there and plant a tree because we got to take care of our environment,” said Michael Kisangi, CEO of Soul of Africa Tours and Travel, who spoke to Africa News.

Along with citizens, florists and tree nurseries have been celebrating for obvious reasons.

Tree cover in the country has been reduced through the decades to just 7% of what it was, and the Ministry of Environment hopes that by the end of the next 10 years, that can be increased by about 12%.

MORE NEWS LIKE THIS: India’s Mass Tree Planting Success: Forest Cover Grows by Half-Million Acres in Two Years

The Environment Minister Soipan Tuya told local Citizen TV the response had been “amazing” with 2 million signups so far on the new app that helps Kenyans to find places to plant the trees, and to ensure they are planting the correct species to the corresponding habitat.

Tuya is expecting double-digit million trees by the end of the rainy season in December, and 15 billion by 2032.

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