ALERT’s work is not just about protecting dwindling lion populations. Conservation efforts can only be effective and long-lasting if they take into account the needs of the ecosystem as a whole. For this reason, Lion Encounter Zambia volunteers recently joined Greenpop, a South African NGO, in a day of tree planting.
The volunteers visited a rural farm an hour’s drive outside of Livingstone to plant citrus trees, along with other indigenous varieties. The mornings in Zambia can be extremely cold at this time of year, so after a very chilly journey, the team were glad to finally arrive at the farm where they soon warmed up when they got down to work.
In order to work efficiently, the volunteers were divided into two groups; diggers and planters. As each hole was dug, the planters would put a tree and some straw mulch next to it. Once all the trees were in place, a quick check made sure that there was enough dirt and compost to fill the holes back up again once the trees were planted. After that, it was time for a quick break before the planting began in earnest.
It was tiring work - especially when the sun came out - but the volunteers were elated every time they finished planting a tree. Cue lots of cheering, ‘high fives’, and big smiles all around! Lunch was eaten in the church next to the farmer’s fields, before everyone finally headed back to Lion Encounter. Exhausted and covered in dirt, it had been a busy, but rewarding day and everyone was happy that they felt they had achieved something worthwhile.
To ensure that these trees are maintained properly in the long-term, giving them chance to thrive for the benefit of the surrounding ecosystem, ongoing monitoring will be carried out by Greenpop.
You could join us as a volunteer in Africa and become involved in worthwhile projects such as this one. Find out how here.