Brackenhurst Eco-Friendly Design Measures
At Brackenhurst we take pride in our commitment to conserve the beautiful biodiversity we are privileged to be surrounded by. We are committed to continually finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact as we progress towards our goal of becoming a completely green campus.
Our Environmental Commitments and Ongoing Projects:
- Installation of 38 Solar Water heaters to reduce our reliance and demand on the national grid
- Working to replace all bulbs across campus with low-wattage energy-saving bulbs and LED’s.
- Installation of movement sensors for select areas on campus to decrease electricity usage when no one is around
- Commitment to reduce water usage and wastage through a variety of creative techniques
- All wood for fires and cooking is grown on a sustainably managed timber plantation on campus.
- Minimizing plastic waste: We are working to completely rid our campus of single-use plastic bags and bottles.
- Indigenous Reforestation: Through our on-campus partner, Plants For Life International, we are working to convert over 60 acres of our land from a “silent plantation” of thirsty Eucalyptus and Grevillea to a completely indigenous forest which supports a wide variety of mammals, birds, and other life. The indigenous vegetation and removal of Eucalyptus has also allowed the river at the bottom of our property to flow all-year round, a benefit to all our neighbours downstream.
- Wetland filtering: At the bottom of the hill, our thriving reed marsh provides essential filtration of the river, which carries lots of sediment, agricultural run-off, and other pollutants from upstream farms, before it continues on down to our neighbours who require clean water.
- Pollinator Gardens: Through Plants for Life International and Woodland Star School, we are planting flower and shrub gardens with specific species that attract and sustain a wide variety of pollinator species, from butterflies and moths to sunbirds and colourful beetles, which are essential in the production of food around Limuru. It is estimated that one in every 3 bites of food we eat is made possible by pollinators.
- Our own organic vegetable garden incorporating the latest permaculture wisdom to maximize output and minimize negative impact (chemical pesticides, erosion, nutrient loss, excessive water usage, etc.)
- Laundry Schedule: In order to avoid unnecessary water usage, we have created a 3-day linen laundry rotation schedule.
- Rainwater harvesting: Using gutters and a number of large storage tanks, we harvest and store rainwater for outdoor, non-consumptive use in order to reduce our reliance on the borehole and Kiambu County water supply.
- Waste separation and Recycling: Through a partnership with TakaTaka Solutions, we have begun carefully separating our waste into the following categories for recycling: Glasses, Plastics, Tin/Aluminium, Paper/Cardboard, Organic. TakaTaka Solutions is now able to recycle an average of 95% of our waste every month. We also have a glass recycling drop-off point in our lower parking area for guests, neighbours, and the wider community to promote a recycling mindset
- Local employment: Brackenhurst and its on-campus partners employ over 90 employees from the surrounding area and across the country. We are committed to empowering our employees to improve their skills, to providing in-house trainings, providing a safe, friendly, & peaceful work environment, and to encouraging loyal employees to take advantage of new opportunities that might present themselves on campus.
- Woodland Star School: An international, environmentally-conscious school built to minimize its energy requirements, with a curriculum that instills in its students a respect and sense of wonder for Kenya’s natural heritage.
- National Conservation Support: Brackenhurst Kenya Ltd is a Corporate Member of Nature Kenya (The East African Natural History Society), Kenya’s oldest and most well-respected conservation organization. Nature Kenya engages local communities across the country for conservation of critical ecosystems that support biodiversity, endangered species, and critical ecosystem services for people.
Brackenhurst Botanic Garden
In 2000 we started an ecological restoration project in the sub-montane forest zone of Kenya at 2000m, 20km north of Nairobi. It was registered it as a Botanic Garden with BGCI in 2006.
We are in year 17 of a 30 year programme. The land had previously been used exclusively for exotic plantations of eucalyptus, black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and cypress. After over 60 years of exotic plantations, almost 100 percent of native species had to be introduced from outside. Our objective is to create 40 ha of native forest. Over 100,000 trees have been planted and natural regeneration is now taking place. We have a closed canopy ‘created’ African forest on 20ha with a further 20 ha of young forest. There are 1500 species on our accessions list including about 500 species of trees, shrubs and lianas. We have over 70 spp. of indigenous Euphorbiaceae/ Phyllanthaceae, 60 spp. of Rubiaceae, and 40 spp. of Acanthaceae. We are also converting the inner compound into an arboretum of rare trees and indigenous flowers.
The restoration process has seen a remarkable increase in mammalian, avian and insect biodiversity, which are used as indicators of success. After 60 years absence, we now have a resident group of Colobus monkeys (Colobus gureza). On the negative side, control of invasive species (Cestrum aurantiacum, Solanum mauritianum etc) makes restoration a costly and time-consuming enterprise.
The tour of the garden will include a walk in the indigenous forest. Kindly bring rain gear and warm clothes. There is a coffee shop, dining facilities and snack restaurant on site.