The commonly known tale of the Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, is at its heart one of ecological conservation, as the Lorax is a creature that defends the forest from logging and commercialization. Our excursion to a papyrus swamp nestled in the headwaters of Kibale National Park is reminiscent of both the setting and the message of the tale of the Lorax. The papyrus plant – which looks just like the Truffula tree in this famous tale – has been an important resource since Ancient Egypt, when it was used to make the first paper products, to its current uses in the production of a plethora of products such as, mats, curtains, and baskets. Furthermore, because of papyrus’ tendency to grow and decompose quickly, it is able to create a special ecosystem that uptakes nutrients that might be in excess in the water. Unfortunately, urbanization is contributing to the loss of papyrus swamps, as these areas are filled in so that buildings can be constructed. Like the Lorax, it is our responsibility to protect these wetlands.
Reflection by: Anya Kochel, Felicia Krausert, Rose Moss, Oscar Senar; Photo taken by Nico Trick