Meet a 5-Year-Old Boy Changing The World One Tree At A Time

By Sumaya Hussein

Most kids would rather sit indoors and stream YouTube all day, but not Emmanuel Kerr who would rather get his hands dirty planting trees.

So far, the Grade One pupil has planted over 500 trees in various areas including Nairobi, Ngong, Embu, and Siaya. His goal is to plant over 10,000 trees by the end of 2023.

Kerr’s father, Caleb Onyango, says his son has always been ecstatic about planting trees, since the day he planted his first-ever tree at his grandmother’s home in Embu.

“It is something that he always looks forward to. If I tell my son are planting tomorrow or today in the afternoon, he will not sit still. He will keep on asking me about it until he sees us planting,” said Onyango.

Kerr’s mother Stella Kambura said his son is in love with planting trees despite his little understanding of the impact it would have on the environment long-term.

“He would often say, ‘Mommy, why don’t we plant a tree so that ten years from now I can say I have a mango tree in my place and we can come and eat them,” she said.

In order to nurture his passion, Kerr’s parents took it upon themselves to ensure he continues planting trees with schools, churches, and organizations.

Kerr was joined by his parents and Samchi Group CEO Esther Muchemi for a tree planting session at City Park on Saturday. He managed to plant 50 trees.

“I call out to many parents to teach our children to take care of the environment at an early age and I’m sure that at an old age, they will also teach their children,” said Ms. Muchemi, while promising to support Kerr in planting 700 more trees.

Kerr’s mother said at times, they lack space for planting trees and when they plant, it’s difficult to follow up on the trees’ progress.

His father narrated a time when they went to visit trees that they had planted at Langata Cemetery, only to find them uprooted.

“He really cried. To date, he has never forgotten that someone somewhere plucked out his trees. It is something that really hurt him,” said Onyango.

With each tree Kerr plants, he whispers to its leaves “May it grow” a phrase he was taught by the Kenya Forest Service.

It is the hope of Kerr’s parents that his love for planting trees rubs off on other children so that there can be a generation that takes care of the environment out of passion.

Speaking during the Jamhuri Day Celebrations at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja promised to “restore order when it comes to the environment”.

“We are working hand-in-hand with the Kenya Forest Services, to begin a tree planting program throughout the county of Nairobi so that we can green our environment and engage our young people in restoring our environment that was bestowed to us,” said Governor Sakaja.

This story was first published on Citizen Digital.

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