Today we started out by weeding a local organic garden that contained banana, papayas and eggplant. I noticed some of the plants I weeded out were some we have in New England, including couch grass, lantana, and Asiatic dayflower. It was the kind of work we do daily at the Zoo. I tried to make it fun for the volunteers by bringing a speaker over and dancing along to some music while we worked!
After lunch, we went to the mangrove forest to plant seedpods that are in the trees. There are nine different types of mangroves on Zanzibar, and one of the ways you can tell them apart is by their seed pods. I worked with only two kinds of trees today, as most have already passed their season of harvest. We shook trees or climbed them to get the pods, and then stuck them in the ground stem-up. I was told by the host that they will be fully rooted and start to have full leaves in 3-4 weeks.
The camp wants to discourage people from cutting down mangrove trees in the area. They’re considering ecotourism as a way of providing jobs, which in turn would give workers the economic means to purchase their own firewood rather than cutting down the mangroves. The camp is still looking into steps for making this happen, and hopefully it will become a reality soon!
P.S. If you missed my first post about my work as a conservation volunteer in the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, check that out here!