Children plant trees for a greener future
Thursday, 03 November 2011 00:00

A seedling baobab (Adansonia digitata), which will grow 25m tall and up to 12m in girth, was planted by IITA International School’s Kindergarten with help from IITA Forest Project Coordinator Deni Bown. The next day she took part in a similar activity with older children at Pade Science School, Ibadan, who planted Pterocarpus osun, from which the traditional black soap, dudu osun is made.

The IITA School’s baobab joins some large specimens of silk cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra) and African silk moth tree (Triplochiton scleroxylon) in front of the school. The planting of the baobab was the culmination of a project about this life-giving savanna tree by Montessori teacher Desny Bishop. She and the children had collected and grown the seed from a massive baobab within the IITA campus.

The tree planting at Pade Science School was initiated by Dr Dominique Dumet, Head of IITA Genetic Resources, and Dr Adeniyi Jayeola, University of Ibadan, who had earlier organized a quiz about biodiversity at IITA for visiting schools. The osun tree was raised and donated by the IITA Forest Project from seed collected in the IITA Arboretum. It is now very scarce or locally extinct in the area. As a result, substitute ingredients are often used to make black soap and the product is less effective at cleansing the skin and preventing irritation.

Pupils at Pade Science School near Ibadan planting Pterocarpus osun tree

African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon)

The African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon), known as arere in Yoruba and obeche in Bini, is a large fast-growing tree, reaching 65 m (213 ft), usually with a straight trunk and buttresses up to about 8 m (26 ft) high. It belongs to the family Sterculiaceae and is common in semi-deciduous rainforests from Sierra Leone to Gabon and Congo, including secondary forests where it may fill gaps as a pioneer species.

CONNECT WITH US | Address: IITA, PMB 5320, Oyo Road, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria | Copyright 2012