Every year CREATEs hosts an annual tree-planting campaign to plant for the planet. On this year’s Journée de l’arbre (Tree Day) in Senegal, CREATE! was awarded a diploma of recognition by the Fatick Governor. The diploma is in honor of our contribution to environmental preservation and reforestation in rural Senegal. As desertification and deforestation rapidly increase in rural Senegal, environmental preservation projects have become substantially important for peoples’ livelihoods.
CREATE! is proud to accept the certification and do our part in supporting the worldwide movement of alleviating climate change. Country Director, Omar Ndiaye Seck states, “This activity [reforestation] allows us to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change brought about by human actions, the consequences of which are suffered by later generations. Our reforestation efforts assist in recovering devastated parts of the globe. Through our work, we hope to leave a better world for our children.”
Communities Plant for the Planet
CREATE!’s partners communities plant an average of 2,000 trees each per year. Volunteers have been carefully raising these seedlings in the nurseries throughout the year. Next, they will plant them in their cooperative gardens and throughout their villages and home compounds. In addition, CREATE! field technicians facilitate the tree planting activities. They advise community members on best practices for where to plant trees, what varieties to grow, and how to maintain them. Properly maintaining the trees is vital because they need to put down strong roots before the dry season begins in October.
What type of trees do we plant?
The trees our partner communities plant are surprisingly fast-growing and resilient in Senegal’s desert climate. Papaya trees grow 6-10 inches in their first year alone and are ready to harvest just 6-9 months after planting. Each tree can bear up to 150 fruits per year.
Another variety that communities commonly grow during the tree planting campaign is the thorny Acaciamellifera. Communities plant this tree along the border of each community’s garden site. The mellifera is known to grow particularly fast, forming a shrubby and nearly impenetrable living fence around the garden. The fence protects crops from pests such as cows, goats, donkeys, and rodents. People say that snakes are unable to slither through!
In addition to papayas and acacias, members also plant cashews, lemons, mangos, moringa, beechwood, and flame trees. This variety serves as an essential source of food, medicine, shade, wind protection, and firewood.
Why We Must Plant for the Planet
“Trees are our life-givers. It is our duty to plant trees for the future of our children.”
– Ndeye Diop, Walo
Climate change and deforestation are contributing to the rapid encroachment of the desert in rural Senegal. As a result, this causes the soil to degrade, agriculture to be less productive, temperatures to rise, and critical natural resources to decline. Desertification leads to human migration, loss of resources, reduced quality of life, and loss of economic opportunity. However, our reforestation campaign is one of the ways we are fighting this challenge.
Trees provide numerous benefits, here are just a few:
– Nourish the soil and reduce erosion
– Provide food
– Retain soil moisture
– Reduce air temperature
– Provide windbreak
– Replenish firewood
– Provide shade
Want to be a part of the solution? It’s not too late! Our tree-planting campaign lasts from the end of May to the end of September. Consider donating to CREATE! to support reforestation and environmental programs in rural Senegal.