By Yunus S Saliu
The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in conjunction with the Wassu community among other stakeholders over the weekend embarked on a tree planting exercise at the Wassu Stones Circle site in Wassu Niani District, Central River Region.
Among other stakeholders who participated in the tree planting exercise included the tour guides in Wassu, visiting students from the University of Illinois United States of America with support from Njawara community, women of Njaw led by Isatou Ceesay, and the exercise was funded by NCAC and Kuntaur Area Council.
The tree planting exercise is meant for heritage conservation by planting around the heritage site and also at the buffer zone because Wassu Stones Circle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Commenting on the exercise, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture elaborated on the exercise. He said the planted trees around the UNESCO World Heritage Site will serve as a green belt against bush fire hence the stone circles are located in an area prone to bush fire in Wassu.
Also, it will help to minimize the effect of bush fire on the stones because the trees demarcate the buffer zone clearly “and there are lots of pressures on land in and around Wassu plus other parts of the Gambia.”
Therefore, with these planted trees, he said the buffer zone will be fully protected from encroachment and it will also strengthen the community participation in the management and conservation of the Wassu Stones Circles.
However, about one hundred people took part in the exercise while over six hundred varieties of trees were planted with technical support from the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) project.
DG Ceesay said among other tasks is to make sure that the trees are well protected to allow the Wassu Stones Circle and the environment becomes a green zone, protect the site and also conserve it as a UNESCO World Heritage site.