The Gishwati Area Conservation Program (GACP) received a grant to plant 1,000 native trees in and around the Gishwati National Forest.
GACP received the donation from Plant-It 2020, a nonprofit organisation founded by the late American singer, John Denver, and which partners with Great Ape Trust’s reforestation initiative in Rwanda.
The grant was underwritten by Aspen Academy, a model school in Colorado, USA.
“The Aspen Academy gift is the first through this new partnership with Plant-It 2020, which promises to be a steady source of support for our ambitious reforestation programs including the new forest corridor between Gishwati and Nyungwe National Park,” Dr. Benjamin Beck, director of conservation for Great Ape Trust said.
Michael Thau, the Executive Director of Plant-It 2020 is quoted as saying: “We are delighted to partner with Great Ape Trust and look forward to continuing to assist them in nourishing Rwanda’s endangered forests and chimpanzees.”
When contacted, Mines and Forestry Minister, Christophe Bazivamo, told The New Times that even though the contribution was small, it was commendable and of big significance.
“Even if you planted one single tree, it would be good. 1,000 trees are few but the effort is still commendable,” Bazivamo said, noting that government has earmarked 2,800 hectares to be planted with trees over the next few years, to rehabilitate Gishwati natural forest.
“Compared to our targets, we have a long way to go, but we are putting in a lot of effort.”
GACP was launched in 2007 when President Paul Kagame and the Great Ape Trust and Earthpark Founder, Ted Townsend, pledged to found a “national conservation park” in Rwanda to benefit climate, biodiversity and the welfare of Rwandans.