Mt Kenya biodiversity conservation group was started in 1999 by a group of youths who were environmental conscious. It was registered as a community based organization by the ministry of social services in 2004. Most of the members were guides and porters in Mt Kenya and they saw the need of conserving the environment from which they were earning their living. Several environmental issues led to their concern which includes deforestation, solid waste pollution, pouching charcoal burning. The group is located in kieni east division in Nyeri district. It operates in Eco resource Center office in Naro-moru town the base for climbing Mt Kenya. It has increased from 20 to more than 200 members today out of these we have 150 men and 106 women. Mt Kenya biodiversity conservation group act as site support group of Nature Kenya around the central region. However the group works together with the local community Kenya Wildlife Service and the forest department in Natural conservation management.
The group's mission is; to conserve mt Kenya eco-system through sensitive local community.
Its importance is social-cultural, ecologically and economically. And its vision is to be the leading community based organization in conservation of Mt Kenya eco-system. Their aim is to form a focal point for conservation activities within mt Kenya region. They have set out their objectives as to create awareness to local community on importance of conserving the environment. To engage in income generating activities to alleviate poverty and at the same time reduce the pressure on forest resources. And to reach out to schools through outreach program by formation of environmental and wildlife clubs.
In order for the group to achieve its objective, it's has been involved in a number of activities and strategies.
1. Creating environmental awareness.
2. Garbage collection.
The group has organized annual town and mt clean ups. These activities takes peace during the world environmental day on 5th June with funding from nature Kenya, the group has organized the following. 2004-the group hosted two representative from s.s.p from all parts of Kenya who engaged in garbage collection in Mt Kenya. About 79 kgs of solid waste was collected by 70 participants. 2005-the group in collaboration of the local stakeholders cleaned up naro-moru town. About 300kg of non-degradable waste was collected. Due to other activities during world environmental day, the activity was not held this year.
3. Tree planting
The group has planted over 5000seedlings in various places, example, In school-1500 , Seedlings, In Mt Kenya forest.1000 seedlings, Mt Kenya eco-resource centre -500 seedlings, Public places-1000 seedlings , Local farms-1000seedings.
4. Public outreach programs
The group has actively spread the environmental awareness during the public baraza's through the group representatives.
5. Field day's and trips
The group holds bird watching trips every last Saturday of the month .currently this activity has attracted participant not only from the local areas but also nationally and internationally. In 2004 this group was rated as 2nd best in bird watching festivals. This year the group ha s organized field trips for school to Lake Nakuru, Oljogi game reserve, William Holden Education centre and mt Kenya eco-resource center.
6. Providing reading materials/ field guides.
The group provides reading material to the local people provided by nature Kenya. They also encourage people to visit their offices where they have developed a mini library. The group also lends field apparatus like binoculars, guide books to bird watchers and botany books in different fields
7. Procession and presentation.
During the environmental day tree planting day, the group organizes people to participate in procession within the Naro-moru town. The participants carried placards and burners with intension of creating awareness. The group also organizes presentation like poems, drama, skits and songs. The best group are rewarded with token and certificates.
8. Income generating activities
a) Tree nursery
The group manages a tree nursery which generates some income after selling of the seedling. Currently our nursery has about 5,000 seedlings of which 2,000 are exotic and the rest indigenous
b) Selling of cow dung charcoal and briquettes.
Some of the members have been trained and already engage in preparation of the briquettes from cow dung. This project has not picked -up properly due to low demand and financial problems.
c) Selling of artifacts.
We have encouraged some of our members to make artifacts from locally available waste materials from both plants and animals. These activities provide an alternative for wood carving and curio which encourages environmental degradation.
Most of the members are registered as mt guides, porters and cooks. They provide services to mountaineer from which they earn their living.
e) School outreach program
The group has facilitated workshop for all school environmental and wildlife club patron on 17th Sep 2005 at Karatina secondary school. We have revived wildlife clubs in area schools both primary and secondary among others institutions. The group has selected Gitero primary school as tree planting demonstration site in the area. The group is in process of introducing bird watching in primary and secondary schools.
We also encourage them to build bird feeding table's mini museum and environmental notice boards and rooms. We are also introducing school to Mt Kenya eco-resource centre.
In 2004 this group was rated as among 20 youth organization involved in innovation and intervention on the youth development where ministry of social services. Our group chairman Mr. John Wachira Ndegwa was awarded the certificate of best friend of the Mt Kenya National Park by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on the 4th march 2005. In this year March 2007 six of our guides were trained by the nature Kenya and the tourism trust fund as site guide.
They are a recognized conservation group, and stakeholders like community, K.W.S,
Forest department and Nature Kenya have helped us in our conservation activities.
They have planted about 50,000 in various parts since 2004.
The group members have been trained in various modules by Nature Kenya through the DaNiDa project example in Information Technology, proposal writing, leadership, entrepreneurship, and also exchange visits with Arabuko Sokoke and Kakamega environmental education center
The group has initiated the establishment of the mt. Kenya eco-resource center.
School out reach program has seen revived wildlife and environmental group, help with reading materials and of training student in the need of conservation.
It has seen guides and porters of Mount Kenya involvement in the conservation and today most of the guides and porters are the key players in our conservation programs, for example they are involved in mountain and town clean-ups, attending of tree nurseries and tree planting. They have also been trained in fundamentals of ornithology and bird monitoring.
Community and other stake holders have been provided with seedlings and through their monitoring and evaluation they have established that there is a gradual change to their perceptions in conservation.
Mt. Kenya eco-resource center internship. The group has been able to provide one of their members to be the conservation intern of the mt. Kenya eco-resource center.
All the personnel at Wildwood are members of Mount Kenya Biodiversity conservation group. So next time you are visiting the Mount Kenya region, contact the members for their expertise in mountain hiking or climbing, birding, cultural visits and many more.