January 14 was no ordinary day in Tomi village, Buloba Parish, Wakiso district. Over ten friends from Kampala descended on a valley in the scotching sun to launch the planting of a peri urban nature park.
Led by Ronald Kiyimba, the proprietor, they planted over 200 trees of different species. Their target is to cover over 10 acres of land with trees and create a ark where people can sit and enjoy a natural environment.
“We have few green spaces left in Kampala and Wakiso. People have built houses and settled almost everywhere. We need fresh air, we need shed. We have to plant trees,” Kiyimba said.
Most of the members in the group have planted trees in different places in Uganda ranging from a few trees to a few acres. They hope to build a large network of Ugandans conscious about nature.
“Many people these days rush to blame harsh weather conditions on global warming, but we too have grossly abused out micro environments. We have unwittingly drained wetlands and cleared forests. We need to do something, and planting trees is part of what we have to do,” said William Odinga Balikuddembe, the President and CEO, Uganda Science Journalists Association (USJA), also a member of the group.
Kiyimba said the park would have many fruit trees not only for people to eat but to also attract other living creatures such as birds.
“Very soon all this area around us will have concrete structures. The people living in those structures will find this park very useful in their lives. We hope some of our neighbours, and Ugandans out there, will emulate what we are doing and plant some trees,” Kiyimba said.