Yesterday Kenya and the world celebrated the life of Prof. Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist who recently passed away. As part of the activities in her honour, across the country communities came together to plant trees. The Turkana Basin Field School students joined the Friends of Lake Turkana, Forestry Department officials, members of the IRC committee in Lodwar and students and teachers of the St Michael Kawalase Primary school in a tree planting exercise.

The activities were organized by Ikal Angelei, who is a leading champion for local social and environmental issues, as well as coordinating many of the activities of the Turkana Basin Institute. Ikal is a passionate and able spokesperson and activist leading the fight for a better environment, livelihoods and justice in Turkana. It was a great honour and privilege for the students and myself to participate in this humble and powerful exercise.

Ikal Angelei and the headteacher Mr Keem address the students, as Mr Kenyaman, the scoutmaster and a champion for tree-planting looks on.

We planted trees at two different locations: at the St. Michael Kawalase Primary School as well as at a camp for Internally Displaces People near Lodwar. Ikal noted how the example and life of Wangari Maathai had inspired people all over the world and how important trees were for human life and livelihoods in the drylands of Turkana.

Ikal plants the first seedling of the day at the school

Ikal carefully fills in the earth around the seedling

Then it was the Field School students’ turn to get their hands into the soil…

Hui gets her seedling ready for planting

Roy helps fill in some earth around the seedling

Elaine waters the first seedling planted by the TBI students

Sarah waters her seedling


Kait gets her seedling ready for planting


The Forestry Department helped plant several of the seedlings

After the seedlings were planted, the students thanked the school and community members for the opportunity to help out.

Wes thanks the students, teachers and tells the students the importance of studying hard