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nl15-03Michael Chuwa and Moshi Mpingo Plot nursery attendant Silvery Mtena load seedlings into truck for transport to Mabilioni.

Most of the seedlings grown at the plot are mpingo, but the ABCP has always made available a variety of tree species for domestic use. Fast growing fuelwood trees and shade trees for coffee plantations and residential use are two important needs of the people of the area. Following are descriptions of other species distributed from the nursery this year.

Kigelia Africana is popularly called the sausage tree because it has a huge pendulous fruit up to 2 feet in length and weighing up to 15 pounds. The fruit can be used as an herbal medicine or for an alcoholic beverage and is consumed by numerous species of animals. When this fruit is in season, care must be taken in parking a car, so a falling 'sausage' does not dent the car or crash through the windshield. Adansonia digitate, the baobab, is one of the most distinguishable and photogenic trees in Africa, because of its massive trunk and uniquely structured wispy crown. Its fruit and leaves are consumed by humans and wildlife. Polyalthia longifolia is an evergreen that is used for medicinal, decorative and woodworking purposes. Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, or Pink Cedar, is used as a shade tree in coffee plantations and to renew badly degraded soil. Similarly, mpingo, in addition to its fine wood, provides an important ecosystem renewal through its ability to fix nitrogen. As a legume, it acts as a natural fertilizer and, through its roots and leaf litter, enriches the soil wherever it grows.

Clarinets for Conservation

nl15-04Clarinets for Conservation (C4C) is a group of resourceful and dedicated US musicians who travel to Tanzania for two months every summer to teach playing of the clarinet to Tanzanian students. Its members are also dedicated conservationists and as a secondary mission, they arrange educational experiences for their students centered around  environmental activism. Since clarinets are made from mpingo, they organize tree planting activities for the species, making students aware of the near-threatened status of the tree and the importance of conserving it in its homeland. Consequently, each year when they depart, they not only leave behind newly trained musicians to entertain and inspire others, but newly planted mpingo to replenish the ecosystem.

C4C was founded by Michelle von Haugg  in 2009, when she traveled to Tanzania as a lone teacher with a dozen clarinets. This year, in its sixth season of outreach, she was joined by fourteen other travelers, now including teachers for string instruments and even a chemist who taught first aid and nutrition classes. The organization has expanded from its original teaching venue at Korongoni Secondary School, and offers clarinet classes for 25 students at TPC Secondary School, viola, violin and cello classes for 11 students at Korongoni, and basic music and recorder instruction for 21 primary school students. The donation of two trumpets led to the inclusion of a brass ensemble teacher.

To emphasize the importance of conservation, weekly field trips are organized. Because many African children do not have the opportunity to see the places that make their nation one of the world's most-chosen tourist destinations, some of the field trips take them to its places of natural beauty, like the majestic Materuni Falls. One group visited Makao Farm, part of the Kilimanjaro Animal Center for Rescue Education and Wildlife. Another toured Iko Eco, a Moshi-based recycling program, to learn about the importance of recycling. In addition, 16 tree-planting field trips resulted in the planting of over 600 African blackwood trees.

Many mpingo trees planted were from the ABCP nursery in Mijongweni. On a trip to Kiviwama Nursery, operated by Samweli Mochuwa, in the heart of Moshi, students from Korongoni Secondary School helped in transferring several hundred mpingo seedlings from the ABCP mpingo plot to be stored at the nursery for future tree planting events. The tree seedlings were distributed to a variety of locations, primarily around schools, where they can be properly protected and nurtured.

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Dismas Macha, accompanied by C4C leader Michelle von Haugg and two volunteer teachers, instructs students at Oldonyo Sambu about the importance of mpingo conservation and its cultivation.

In a collaborative effort, Dismas Macha accompanied the C4C teachers and students on several trips. One such trip was to Oldonyo Sambu Primary School northwest of Arusha. The villagers in this area are primarily Maasai, indigenous people who have become known globally because of the beautiful beaded jewelry fashioned by their artists and their unique style of chanting and dancing. Various cultural tourism venues allow visitors access to their villages and homes, or bomas. The students of Oldonyo Sambu are eager to begin a tree planting initiative and to participate in the conservation of mpingo, the national tree of Tanzania. Dismas, a trained botanist, showed the students how best to plant the seedlings and demonstrated follow-up procedures to better insure their survival.

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Last revised 23 Nov 2015.