Fun time.

You will hear their innocent shrieks of laughter, echoing in the background. Their feet “tapatapa” on the hard surface. Its fun, it’s exciting its play time at the park. The noise, the charter the fun all combined. They take turns to swing on what is left, the only play item in the play ground, however this does not deter them from enjoying

This is the state of Nairobi City Park children’s play ground, not much but they have learned the spirit of sharing. The once triple swing that adorned the play area, only one is intact, with a sack to sit on. Its uncomfortable, I tried it, but they ignore the discomfort as long as they have there share of fun. The parents/ guardians will stand aside or sit on the hard ground and watch them as they play.

They have devised there own form of nature fun. The old climbers (Lianas) and creepers too can be used. They run around for hours, moving from climber to climber. “Tarzan” in the making? It beats me.

We can change all this, together we can upgrade this space just for them, the childhood is so short, let’s help them enjoy every moment of it. Friends of City Park need your help to bring this space into a form that the children will appreciate more, that is safe for them and environment friendly.

I envision an area where the children can play freely, there parents/guardians watch them in comfort or involve there participation, an area for story telling, a park within a park just for our children.

Friends of City Park is a project of Nature Kenya, and consists of a group of volunteers whose main objective is to conserve Nairobi City Park for perpetuity.

Email: [email protected]

We need your support and contributions in this initiative.

Oh no, City Park not a waste Park!

A recent visit to Nairobi City Park revealed that people are dumping wastes of all kind in the park.. This can be attributed to inadequate waste bins and lack of proper waste management. If no proper and urgent interventions are taken, then City Park will be a litter Park and that would scare away people who would love to visit and have a nice time in the park. It will also choke growing vegetation and end up affecting the ecological systems of the park.

Waste dumped in one of the areas inside the Park

Do you know of any cost effective solution that can be put in place to check this environmental polution?

Please share with us your experiences. You can also help us by donating to buy litter bins for this unique park as a short term intervention. A healthy environment also means a healthy people.

Contact Friends of City Park at [email protected]

Experience Nairobi City Park on 14th November 2009

The rare white Jacarada tree invites you to see it at Nairobi City Park on 14th November 2009 while enjoying our guided nature walk. The walk starts at 9.00 to noon and we shall meet at Bowling Green Restaurant car park before we start the walk. Remember if you miss it this time, you have to wait this time next year.

The rare white Jacaranda tree. It is found no where else in Nairobi but only in Nairobi City Park .

and to have fun

Pupils from Waldorf School enjoying themselves

while watching among others

Vervet monkey with a young one

See you then.

Contact us:

[email protected]

Mobile: 0710-388 642

Telcom Wireless: 020-2517 082

Waldorf School’s walk in the Park

A walk to the park today with pupils from Waldorf School was fun. First the kids were excited because of the monkeys and they wanted to feed them and touch them too. Then they got fascinated by the sight of the rare White Jacaranda, the only one in the entire of City Park and which some of them had not seen before. The tree itself looked like it had been covered with ice because it was in its full bloom of white flowers and the ground round the tree was all white as well.

Round the forest the pupils also had a chance to see the fig trees and some parasitic plants including the Lianas which in this case their root system provides nice swinging ropes and all the kids were hesitant to leave the climber alone. Even the dominant Sykes monkeys who fancy these roots were carried away by the excitement of the kids and came to have fun together as well.

The pupils were good in paying attention and eager to learn.

And the White Jacaranda was in its full bloom as well

There was fun to the kids as they played with the root system of the Lianas, a plant climber.

And fun it was

And,

Did you ever know that the fig tree fruits are flowers as well as fruits? Did you also know that the Fig Wasps live, feeds and breeds in these fig fruits? And that the wasps help in pollinating the figs? Well, I learnt it today and thought it would be wise to share this with you. Everything that is around us in terms of living and non-living things has its amazing and important role to play in nature. If we all understood this, we would never want to destroy nature and if we had to use it, we would use it sustainably and equally.

A weekend Day Out in City Park

This was one of my free days and it happens to be Saturday the 17th October. I look around the house and there is nothing much to do in the afternoon. So I request my family to accompany me to City Park- a real nice cool place to be.

As we were having a walk across the open area, you can just imagine one of the guys to welcome my family was none else but a group of Sykes! The children are exited. The kids run towards them. You could imagine the scene as it was unfolding in front of my wife and me. A game between the kids and the Sykes was on. Kids running after the Sykes and the Sykes doing the same. The communication between the two parties none could comprehend but maybe the two parties. When the kids were tired, we went and sat on one of the benches and do you know our companions-the Sykes! They just sat on top of our benches where they could share some goodies with the kids. It was a perfect harmony between human and nature. On this day there was a good number of visitors in the park and believe it the park’s entry is absolutely free.

The place is marvellous with people of different cultural grounds meeting and talking at each other as if they knew each other a long time ago.

City Park is one of the places where I would recommend for families to visit, relax and have story telling sessions that fits perfectly with most of stories that describes forests and animals in harmony with humans.

As a recreation space what I find missing are children swings and slides that the kids could use when tired of playing around. May be, you who is out there and had a chance to read this can help in contributing to buy these kids facilities.

Your contribution for City Park improvement ensures the perpetuity of the park for generation to come

Friends Nature Walk

The day is 10th October 2009. The Friends of Nairobi City Park had scheduled a guided nature walk in City Park. By 9.30 a.m, 32 people had assembled in the designated meeting point. The skies were clear and the day temparatures were just right for the walk not forgetting that during the previous night there was a heavy rain downpour.

The birds we saw were quite a number despite the dry weather that Nairobi had been experiencing lately. Among the birds sighted were the Narina Trogon- a rare bird to see, Hadada Ibis, Silverly-cheeked Hornbill, Black-backed Puffback, Grey-backed Cameroptera, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler and the most common bird of prey the Black Kite.

As we walked along, we came across various biodiversity whose significance were explained by the naturalists present.

Well, even kids too had fun of another kind!

We shall keep you posted on other events that are comming up.

You can contact us at [email protected]

The Nairobi City Park maze is coming back to live!!

The Maze

During my recent visit to Nairobi City Park, I was overjoyed to find that the City Council of Nairobi are rehabilitating the once popular but neglected maze

The maze was popularly known as mtego wa panya in Kiswahili( rougly translated as a “rat trap”) used to be a popular destination for kids and adults alike before the early 1990’s. Most of people who are aged over 30 years have fond memories the maze. When we were young, we used to visit the place and you could imagine how scared we were when we find ourselves “lost” in the maze. But there used to be a guard(s) placed strategically in a watch tower who would guide you on your way in or out. The guard(s) used to be our best friends because they would bail us out. You could hear Children (our age mates) shouting they are lost.

I remember in school, us kids used to tell stories of how our parents are tough in making their way to the centre of the maze and the way out. But one question I used to ask myself: if the parents were that tough, how come then were they seeking the assistance of the guards?. It was better to ask yourself the question than spoiling the story telling session. To every child, the parent or guardian could never be wrong!

Fun

The fun was to find your way to the centre within the shortest time possible. To get to the centre one could use many trails but only one could lead to the centre. The challenge of getting out of the maze was if you could memorize the trail you took without getting lost. Neither could you jump over to the next trail if you are lost. It was a quite a challenge.

The once popular Maze under rehabilitation by the City Council of Nairobi. The challenge was to get into the centre and finding your way out. It is expected to be fully functional within some few months. The hedge is used to mark out the trails and not to cross over.

Sadly in the early 1990’s something went wrong and the maintainance of the maze was no longer a priority of the authorities responsible for maintaining it leading to its neglect and overgrown hedge.

But now, seeing the City Council of Nairobi is rehabilitating the maze, I could feel those years I was a kid coming back with memories of my class 5 primary school teacher telling us how tough he is in finding his way in and out of the maze but fortunately for us he was the first to be lost when we visited the maze! You could imagine the look on his face when one of the daring pupils asked him why we are lost yet he is tough! Well these are just some of the memories of fun we had and hopefully my kids ( and yours too) will enjoy as much as much as we did but I wont get lost again!!

Feeding the monkeys in City Park- not always good!

The Sykes and Vervet monkeys at City Park are a joy to watch. Every time you visit the park, you will always find them happily jumping up and down the trees and on the open grounds waiting for people to feed them, always curious what they may be carrying for them. To me this is a very worrying trend. People should always be cautious when feeding the monkeys and other wildlife at large in protected areas.

You should remember that what you feed might not necessarily be good for the wildlife. Your food may include spices, food additives and preservatives that the animals may find palatable but may have negative effect on their health. When you condition them to be reliant on human for feeding, you are depriving them of their natural instincts for fetch food by themselves. In case they don’t get food from you for a period of time, their conditioned instinct (you may be the culprit) will force them to raid for food in the neighbouring market and homesteads and thereby exposing them to likely injuries from attacks by the owners and sometimes this attacks can be fatal. (Can you can imagine if they stray out of the City Park forest and they become hungry? or snatching food from your kids?)

The most likely cause of this behaviour by people in the park is due to lack of recreational facilities that could keep both the kids and their guardians busy.

Sykes in Nairobi City Park forest

So instead of feeding the monkeys you can support by donating to improve the infrastructure in the park. Feeding the monkeys should be done only during special circumstances

We need your Support!

Help save our Nairobi City Park monkeys!

If you support to improve the infrastructure, you assist the monkeys too-including our Sykes, to lead a normal life and you also improve their health to live a little longer.

You can contact us at [email protected]

New Biodiversity Findings in Nairobi City Park!

Pilot biodiversity surveys undertaken during the month of August 2009 in Nairobi City Park have yielded some very exciting discoveries. The surveys were commissioned by Friends of City Park-a project of Nature Kenya. An individual tree of Euphorbia cussonoides was found growing near the Bowling Green restaurant. It’s the first to be recorded anywhere since the demise of this plant’s only previously documented population- on Ngong Hills and near Thika.

The species will be propagated to increase its population. That is one of the wonders of City Park. It never ceases to amaze! Two species of bees that are potentially undescribed have also been found! The surveys were done by scientists from National Museums of Kenya. Many thanks to the National Museums of Kenya team of scientists for a job well done.

Considering the surveys were done during the dry weather, this is an indicator of what may be expected if it was to be carried out during a wet season. (Nairobi is experiencing an uncommon dry weather at this time). There are plans to undertake another survey during the rainy season which is expected to yield even more amazing results!

BioBlitz

A Bio-Blitz is also planned during the month of November 2009. This will involve students from the surrounding schools and a couple of volunteers. Watch this space during the coming month of November for details and updates

City Park, considering its size and as an urban forest, it has enormous potential as a living laboratory for students of environmental studies. Same with the scientist from the National Museums of Kenya- they are a living library! The following is a summary of the species diversity documented so far

Taxa surveyed. Number of Species

  1. Flora 383
  2. Butterflies 116
  3. Birds 124
  4. Mammals 23
  5. Insects 118
  6. Reptiles 12

This are just some wonders of the park located in the heart of Nairobi. Currently a user friendly version of the findings is being compiled by the team that took the surveys.

Join Us! Support us! and help save Nairobi City Park

The Friends of City Park need your support to make the next survey a success.

Your donation will be used for logistics, publicity and educating the public on the importance of City Park-enhancing the health, wealth and beauty of Nairobi and by so doing ensure the perpetuity of the park.

You can contact us at [email protected]

Family Fun day at Nature Kenya!!

Nature Fair

The weekend is closing on fast. The dates are 5th and 6th September. The word in the air is the Nature fair. This event is being organised by Nature Kenya. The objective being to inform the public the link between community and conservation, provide information on environment and conservation and for the public to understand and appreciate Nature. The fair also was to celebrate the International Vulture awareness day and not forgetting it will be a family fun weekend. Nature Friends of City Park being a project of Nature Kenya is participating and telling the public about ourselves- who we are, what we do and what is our objectives.

The D-day has arrived. Saturday 7.30 am. Every stand is busy setting up their details, Friends of City Park not being an exception. The Friends of City Park stand is very well visible from a distance with a board and a banner illustrating our vision- enhancing the health, wealth and beauty of Nairobi . By 8.00 am are set up and ready. 9.00 am the official opening time for visitors- The first visitors start streaming in; the air is full of excitement. The question in people’s mind- how will be the attendance? By noon, the place was full of visitors and much exited on what they have heard and seen from the exhibition. Some of the activities were guided nature walks, cultural dance and drama, painting, acrobatic shows, films, nature talks, spelling bees and not forgetting Bouncing castle and face painting for the Kids! The same events were repeated on the next day- Sunday.

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Our stand attracted a good number of visitors and over 100 people recorded an interest in our next month Nairobi City Park guided walk! Hey, you don’t want to miss this one. Will you? The walk will start at 9.00 am to 12.30 pm on 10th October. If you miss it, I will update on this site.

The cultural dancers and acrobats were a scene not forgotten easily- they were fantastic!

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Reflecting on the preparations, all were nervous on during the first day before the first visitors came in. Though confident, were asking ourselves- how do the public view the policy on open spaces? Urban forests and parks? But surprisingly the public is very much aware of the importance on open green spaces in urban areas and we got a lot of encouragement to continue informing the public on the importance of Nairobi City Park and its benefits. The sad part is that most of Nairobi residents were not aware the park entry is free. This meant we have a lot to do to educate the public about City Park.

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Overheard!.

We had two groups of people one enjoying the outing and the other one enjoying and at the same time moaning of emptying of their wallets! Guess who? Yes you are right! -Parents. Kids really enjoyed the goodies on sale during the show bought by their parents/guardian whereas the parents/guardian would be telling the kids they have had enough of goodies but not telling them the actual -they are getting out of cash!!.

One of the conversations went like this:

Father: Son, I think you have had enough

Son: Dad, but I have just started. You promised me today is a family fun day and the goodies are a part of the package you know

Father: Then, why don’t we go again to watch the cultural dancers?

Son: That’s a great idea dad. Let me get an ice cream then I can enjoy it while watching the dancers.

Father: Mmmm,(hesitating) do you know too much ice cream is not good for you?

Son: Well I had taken only one before and this one won’t do any harm

Father:(changing tact’s) Now tell me what have you taken so far.

Son: Cookies, hotdog, soda and some popcorn

Father: Now, then it’s a good idea you join other kids at the bouncing castle

Son: But dad ice cream first before( dad cuts in)

Father: It’s a family day and you need to join other kids before the fair comes to and end!

The kid had lost the wits game and we could see the dad smiling as the kid went to join the other kids to bounce up and down. Well its one way of burning those calories.

I too am signing off. It was great of you reading me. See you next time

Join Us

Help the Friends of City Park. Your donation will be used to reach the wider general public and improvement of City Park infrastructure for the benefit of you, your kids and generations to come.

You can visit our website www.naturekenya.org/nairobicitypark.htm or contact us on [email protected],org