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City of Banjul
Monday, October 2, 2023

Clamour to save the forest nature garden at Gunjur Museum

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All the time in the Kombos, Gambia, land is getting used up for development and building, meaning trees are cut down and birds and animals suffer, and species decline becoming locally extinct; species such as red colobus monkey, african civet and crested porcupine etc.

One important piece of land is under threat, and this is a fund-raiser to save it, and turn it into an educational forest nature garden, for the public to come and experience nature and learn about the plants, animals and traditional herbal medicines of Gambia.

The land is next to the Gunjur Museum, which is a small and very interesting museum built and run by Lamin Bojang in south Gambia, to preserve the rich cultural and natural history of the Gambia. Gunjur Museum is not only geared towards the preservation of culture, but also the protection and conservation of local natural heritage. With this land it has potential to become a centre of cultural heritage and education in biodiversity.

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Lamin became aware that the land is rich in trees, plants and birds, but like a lot of land in the area it is threatened by development. Lamin is keen to save this land for nature, and for education about nature and biodiversity. Lamin was born and raised in Gunjur and lives there still. Lamin has worked as a senior community park warden with Gunjur Environmental Protection and Development Group (GEPADG) and the Department of Parks and Wildlife on the coastal and marine protection project (ICAM project) before establishing his own natural and cultural history museum. He is passionate about his museum, and about preserving traditional culture and the natural world for future generations, and for visitors to Gambia.

The piece of land Lamin wants to save would form a vital corridor and entryway for many species –  birds such as violet and green turaco and african golden oriole, insects including moths and butterflies, and plants and trees like the dry zone mahogany and grey plum, along with mammals and reptiles such as monkey species, chameleons and skinks. Currently the land has a wide range of tree, plant, bird and insect species present on it which are in decline in many parts of Gambia.

The land is not under any protection or control and is at risk of the cutting down of trees and poaching of wildlife. This land when acquired will be conserved for wildlife, and will be an important addition to the museum. It will be protected and safeguarded against tree cutting and development. Lamin will nurture and encourage the plant and animal species and make it a safe haven for wildlife. Lamin will also nurture the medicinal plants and encourage the establishment of uncommon plants to ensure their survival.

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Lamin will carefully and sensitively create paths for access to the land, and bird hides where visitors can watch the bird life and learn about the species, creating a forest nature garden where nature is protected. Lamin will sustainably develop the forest, to bring it back to pristine condition.

The museum and forest nature garden will act as a learning centre for local school children and students, who will come to learn about the traditional heritage of medicinal plants, their traditional culture, and the wonderful plant, bird and animal life of the Gambia. Lamin is keen for the younger generations to have access to this learning, so that they will grow up to care about the preservation of nature in Gambia and the importance of biodiversity, which is so important for conservation and addressing climate change.

The land is being offered to the museum if the funds can be raised to purchase it. But we need to act fast; if the museum cannot secure the land it will be developed and built on.

Please contribute to helping us preserve and secure this land, for nature and for the generations to come. Any donation is very welcome – thank you very much. We aim to raise £4000 to secure the purchase of the land.

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