I want to encourage you to
support campaigns to save African forests and biodiversity. The importance of forests and
the many services humanity gets from them is well known: ecological balance of the earth;
they absorb carbon; prevent loss of soil and subsequent desertification; they offer
safeguards against flooding; they are reservoirs for genetic resources; they control
rainfall patterns and serve as catchment areas for freshwater and rivers. Forests
have been a source of wealth and inspiration throughout centuries.
The ABCP is working along the Northern Circuit, one of Tanzanias primary tourist destinations. Carvers have immigrated into this area to take advantage of the markets available for their products. Since mpingo is so highly valued, not only by artists from within African, but by its international usersinstrument makers and woodworkersits numbers are rapidly declining due to over harvesting. The carvers have consequently had to use alternate varieties as substitute for mpingo, even though mpingo is their preferred medium. The work of the ABCP is to replenish mpingo in this important area.
For information about the carvers of Africa see our website at: http://www.blackwoodconservation.org/carving.html. There you can see a photo of a Makonde statue entitled Tree of Life. It depicts succeeding generations of an extended family intertwined and supporting one another, conveying the idea that everything we do today is built upon the lives of those who came before and laid the groundwork.
Roots and Shoots
In 1991, Jane Goodall and a group of 16 students in Tanzania, concerned about the state of the environment, founded Roots and Shoots, a youth conservation corps with the objective of promoting understanding and compassion for all living things. It is action oriented, with a decided emphasis on inspiring grassroots work on behalf of all ecosystems in the world community. It now has 40,000 members and 6000 groups in 87 countries.
Sebastian has had a long association with Jane Goodall, beginning in 1978 when he was employed as a conservationist at Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, an important Tanzanian ecosystem. Because of his extensive knowledge of the areas vegetation, he was helping Mary Leakey (the anthropologist who, along with her husband, Louis Leakey, discovered early hominid remains in Africa) identify plants at her archeological site of Olduvai Gorge, which is adjacent to Ngorongoro. There Leakey introduced him to Ms. Goodall, her friend and associate.
In 2000 Sebastian and Goodall both delivered addresses during a seminar at Mweka College of Wildlife Management and she requested his help with setting up Roots and Shoots groups in the area around Moshi and Arusha. To date he has established 40 such youth groups in schools of the area. Their primary activities are tree planting, preservation of rare and important species such as mpingo and establishing nurseries.
Sebastian is also setting up experiences for international Roots and Shoots students. This year 22 students from Oakland High School in California helped local students plant trees on Mt. Kilimanjaro. He also hosts volunteers in his home or at the Moshi Mpingo Plot building. There they volunteer to assist in the ABCP work of planting and disseminating mpingo and other important species.
Mpingo Conservation Project
Congratulations are due to Project Coordinator Steve Ball and the Mpingo Conservation Project (MPC) for their recent award of a grant from the Darwin Initiative. Steve is a British mpingo
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Last revised 21 Apr 2008.