Underpinning the community engagement programme is a broad education and awareness scheme to challenge prevailing attitudes to forest conservation. This fits with a wider national campaign being undertaken by the Kenyan government and the Kenya Wildlife Service to promote the crucial role wildlife and the environment play in the national story.
The Ngong Road Forest has a heritage of educational provision with the existing work of the Imre Loefler Education Centre to a range of ages from young children to older people. This centre will be renovated and extended to provide greater opportunities for visitors to learn about work to rehabilitate the forest and how they can get involved. The centre will also provide broader resources about forest conservation around the world, drawing on expertise from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and from national and international universities and government agencies. There will be a strong practical component to the activities at the centre, establishing demonstration plots to help teach forest composition as well as the construction of a botanic arboretum.
In addition to the centre, signposts and informational signboards will be erected in the forest; these are not designed to interrupt the visitor experience but to explain and articulate the work of an urban forest. They will include explanations of the different zones and activities taking place within the forest, for example, information on water rights and the importance of keeping rivers free of alien plants and rubbish.
Scientific and Ecological Research
The Ngong Road Forest has strong research potential and there are many areas in which the forest could provide data, for example, aspects of the propagation of indigenous tree species. Also, while a wide variety of wildlife is known to exist within the Ngong Road Forest, there exists no definitive wildlife survey and no monitoring programme of the factors impacting mammals, reptiles or amphibians, and potential changes to the forest’s biodiversity.
Similarly the forest would benefit from a complete inventory of all current flora species. The research programme will tie into the activities of the public education programme, cutting across all levels and ages.