ENTEBBE— The Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), have launched ‘Pet a Tree’ – an initiative of African tourism and environment conservation (ATEI).
ATEI is a Non-Government Organization that involves taking trees as friends and pets right from planting them, naming them, nurturing/watering them, celebrating their birthdays, taking pictures and sharing facts about them to the world.
The Pet a tree campaign was launched last week at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), in Entebbe.
The event was attended by different dignitaries from the Ministry of tourism and other stakeholders. Speaking as a Chief guest the State Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Martin Mugarra pledged his full support to the Organisation on the initiative that falls directly under Uganda’s National development plan of the 40 million tree campaign.
Mugarra further elaborated that relationship between tourism and the environment as interdependent for wildlife needs, the trees to survive thus the need to conserve already existing trees while planting more.
He added that; the environment, by its natural, cultural-historical, social climate potential, represents the motivation of tourists’ travels, while a clean and unaltered environment cannot exist without practising Eco- tourism.
The Country Director World Wildlife Fund Uganda (WWF), Mr. David Dduli, used the event to thank the founders of ‘Pet a Tree’ for birthing such a brilliant initiative with committed organizational support in a move aimed at tree restoration.
“There is a need to mobilize youths to join the initiative, pet names have always been part of the African tradition and it creates an attachment, let’s use pet a tree to bring back the pet names practice,” Dduli said.
He added that: “We are standing on an opportunity our ancestors had and lost and it’s now our opportunity to re-create it for future generations” he added as he concluded his remark.
Whereas, the Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives Board Chairperson, also Uganda Hotel Owners association Chair Lady Mrs Susan Muhwezi, recognized NFA, WWF, UWEC and the Ministry of Tourism for supporting such an amazing initiative that focuses on restoring our biodiversity.
Mrs Muhwezi talked of how she has continuously supported such initiatives in her individual capacity and will continue to do so.
“I challenge government and development partners to continuously support young people initiatives that develop the country,” said Mrs Muhwezi.
UWEC Executive Director James Musinguzi advised Ugandans to make it a norm to plant trees on special occasions like Weddings, Birthdays etc.
“The planet demands that human beings not only think in short term but across generations perhaps for the first time in the history of mankind, we need to acknowledge the underlying challenge of climate change,” Musinguzi said.
Tooro Kingdom Minister for Tourism, Joan Kantu, on behalf of the Kingdom, accorded the Pet a Tree initiative a total of 5 acres of land to plant a forest in Tooro using the Tooro Pet names.
Amumpaire Moses Bismac, the Founder of Pet a Tree and Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives commended government agencies, WWF, National Forestry Authority, Uganda Wildlife Education Center, (UWEC), Uganda wildlife Authority for supporting the campaign.
He called upon fellow journalists and all Ugandans to at least have a tree Pet.