The Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI), a member of the Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), in partnership with the Geography Department of Benue State University Makurdi and other civil society organisations (CSOs) joined the global community to commemorate the 2021 World Environment Day with a tree planting and sensitization exercise to ignite actions towards ecosystem restoration.
Other partnering CSOs include Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative (CLHEI), Environment and Climate Change Amelioration Initiative (ECCAI), Good Health Living and Environment Foundation (GOHLEF), and Gender and Community Empowerment Initiative (GECOME).
The partnership enabled the department to collaborate with partner organisations to train more students in practical ways of responding to the various issues affecting the ecosystem.
The core objective of the exercise was to raise awareness about the dangers of ecosystem degradation and the practical actions needed for the restoration of the ecosystem.
Ms. Elizabeth Jeiyol, Executive Director, Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI), led the tree planting activity at the school premises of Benue State University.
A total of 145 trees were planted, ranging from Oil palm (Tanera-100 seedlings), King’s palm (Ornamental plant-16), Mahogany (17) Flamboyant tree (delonix regia- 6), Mangoes (6).
The event partners were received by Prof. Ocheri Maxwell, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Prof. Iorkua Salenkaan, Head of Department Geography Department, Prof. Daniel Ortserga, and Dr. Terwase Shabu, Coordinator, Postgraduate students, Department of Geography, Benue State University.
The welcoming team appreciated GERI and the funders for the partnership to plant trees on the campus and acknowledged the gesture as a wake-up call to nurture them as previous trees planted by the school management could not survive as they were planted during the dry season and were not well nurtured.
They also acknowledged how man’s activities have significantly contributed to degradation in the ecosystems and the need to initiate deliberate actions to restore the ecosystem and sustain it for the good of both the present and future generations.
Everyone of them reiterated commitment to nurturing the trees as they were grown in honour of the professors in the department.
One key achievement that emanated from the event was the signing of a partnership agreement to post students of the geography department on industrial attachment to NGOs for practical and hands-on experience on environmental stewardship.
The tree planting activity steered actions of participants both staff and students of the university to embark on tree planting especially economic trees.
The event equally featured capacity enhancement on specifications to be adhered to during tree planting to avoid cutting them down when they grow because of disruption to property or space. 67 persons (48 males, 19 females) were recorded as beneficiaries of this initiative were also enhanced.
A total of 68 trees were planted in the school premises and 77 (71 Oil Palm and 6 Mangoes) were distributed to participants to plant in their environments to spread ecosystem restoration activities across the state.
Data of participants was collected to facilitate growth. The growth of these trees will be monitored using a strategic plan.
The University’s Geography department restated its commitment to nurturing the trees to maturity.
The Geography Students Association, who actively participated in the tree planting led by Bemsen Benjamin Bula were mandated to consistently water the plants while the department provides the needed water.