We are very happy to have just hired our newest employee, Michael Singoro, as part of an “externship program” through an organization called Earth Corps in Seattle. He is here on a year-long environmental training visa from Kenya, and we are thankful for the skills and international perspective that he brings to our organization!

Name: Michael Singoro Wanyonyi

Nationality: Kenyan

Background: B. Environmental Studies Community Development, Kenyatta University

Quote: “Treat the world well because it was not given to us by our Parents but it is loaned to us by our Children,” Kenyan Proverb.

Before Groundwork:

I was brought up on a small rural farm in Bungoma, Kenya, where daily chores included taking care of cattle and plants in the fields. After finishing secondary school, I attended university in Nairobi where I graduated with a degree in Community Development. While going to school, I joined an organization called Forest Action Network Kenya as an intern where I trained poor rural farmers around the country on participatory forest management, working to help communities living close to forests benefit from them in a sustainable way.

Environmental issues in Kenya range from high rates of deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water shortages and degrading water quality, poaching, and domestic and industrial pollution. I felt the need to solve these issues so I attended the International Youth training program at Earthcorps in Seattle, Washington. There, I worked alongside other emerging young environmental leaders from around the world. I took part in many environmental service learning projects, restoring wetlands, planting trees, building trails, thus gaining skills in environmental restoration, community building and youth leadership.

After working in the United States and Kenya I realized that environmental issues are almost similar in both countries, but different communities adapt to solve these issues in different ways depending on their level of economic development. Poorer communities are more vulnerable to environmental problems than more developed ones.

Why I Applied:

I came to Groundwork Hudson Valley to gain more hands-on experience in teaching young students about the importance of urban forests in creating greener, more sustainable cities and to learn more techniques in redesigning neglected urban open spaces into environmentally sustainable places. I also want to learn about sustainable urban farming, and the Groundwork Science Barge gives me a perfect opportunity to do just that.

Next Steps

I hope to use my experience from Groundwork Hudson Valley to implement similar programs in Kenya that will promote sustainable communities which are vibrant, healthy and safe, which respect the local and global environment and where people and enterprise prosper.