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The VSPT commemorated Earth Day and the spirit of conservation by inviting local students to join with the staff in planting indigenous trees and plants in the Omumashaka Wetland. Among the students were members of a Conversion Club started as a result of a Tree Nursery Project begun by VSPT earlier in the year.
A banner led march into the wetland began the events of the day. The land had been prepared for planting, and the trees chosen were all indigenous and natural to the wetland ecosystem. In addition, Papyrus was planted along a swampy area.
As the student holding seedlings and hoes eagerly awaited the “go signal”, Emmanuel Bwambale, Head Landscaper at VSPT, gave instructions on the planting and watering while giving lessons on the environmentally valuable properties of each tree variety.
Since the Omumashaka wetland restoration mission includes the removal of invasive and exotic flora species, which can have damaging impacts to local habitats, the students were taught about the negative effects of these plants and how to properly eradicate them.
After the planting was completed, everyone returned to the VSPT compound for a time of refreshments and discussion, hosted by Nicole Simmons, VSPT Project Coordinator. The students shared what they had learned and ways to continue to protect the environment.
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.