The area of Kenya where we live was once tropical forest habitat. A habitat is where any species finds what it needs for food, water, shelter, space, and breeding. In the remaining pockets of forest, we can see the lush green of what once existed here.
Over the past century, the habitat was altered to make room for an increasing population, and for commercial and subsistence agriculture. Trees were cut down and forests removed, replaced with settlements and agricultural fields. Our area of western Kenya was known for sugarcane production, and we had one of the largest sugarcane factories, owned by Nzoia Sugar Company. Other crops grown here include maize, sorghum, and millet. Dairy and poultry farming are also important.
All of these activities have had their impacts on the landscape and the species that live in our communities. The natural forest landscape has been fragmented into smaller and smaller spaces, surrounded by unfavorable habitat that makes it difficult for our native species to survive and thrive. Besides the habitat alteration and fragmentation, the habitats have been degraded by pollution and other human activities. And now we face the ongoing threat of climate change.
Despite all of this, there are still some small pockets of habitat left where some of our native species remain. This is why we set aside the land for the Upendo Conservation Area - to be a sanctuary for small animals that live along the Nakhwana River - reptiles, amphibians, birds, small mammals, and insects. We also set aside this area to start reclaiming the land, by starting a tree nursery that will allow us to plant native trees and regrow our forests.