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Meet Paul Kamau, our Expert Horticulturalist in Kenya

Paul manages the Conservation Roots Program of Ecosystem Restoration in Kenya

In between planting trees and leading the Conservation Roots Program, we managed to catch up with Paul on all things gardening and Kenya.

Hi Paul, could you tell us about yourself, where you are from, and how you got into all things gardening and botany? Was gardening and horticulture always a passion of yours?

I am a Kenyan citizen; my interest in gardening started when I was in High School – I chose Biology as my favourite subject. And that is the time I came to study Botany deeply. I have done many courses in Landscaping and Ornamental Science.

What is it that you love about gardening the most?

I have a passion for gardening and for helping to create healthy ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems create healthy places to live for not only animals but for people as well. I know all of the plants and trees by their botanical and common names and family. I know where they grow best and what many medicinal uses are as well. I believe that where there is a tree, there is life.

What does the Conservation Roots Program mean to you?

To me, the Conservation Roots Program means planting many more trees and shrubs to replace the ones knocked down by elephants and ones that have died. I established a tree nursery program for every Great Plains Camp, with no less than 700 seedlings of different native indigenous species.

What will these trees do for the communities and landscapes? How are they important?

The importance of these trees is critical. Some of the trees have medicinal power: for example, from Warbugia Ugandanesis, you can create an infusion of the bark and roots, which can be used to treat stomach aches, toothaches, fever, general muscular pains, and even malaria. With Croton Megalocarpus, the bark is used to kill intestinal worms, relieve whooping cough, and you can boil the roots to treat chest pain, pneumonia, and internal swelling. For Acacia Geradii, the bark is widely used to treat coughs and sore throats. These are just a few examples of the healing power of plants. Trees also support riverbanks, prevent soil erosion, create shade for both humans and animals, and be used as firewood for heating and cooking.

What is your dream for tree planting and horticulture in Kenya?

My dream for tree planting and horticulture in Kenya is to create an initiative for every household in Kenya to have their tree planting program supervised by the Kenya Forest Service and every family to have a small vegetable garden for their daily meals.

What are your favourite things about Kenya and any favourite plants?

My favourite thing about Kenya is that Kenya has an excellent policy concerning the environment. Every year in May, we also have Tree Planting Day. My favourite plant is a Cycad, and my favourite tree is the Warbugia Ugandanesis