The role of trees in biodiversity and environmental conservation and the provision of environmental services have long been acknowledged. Me and My Tree is a project being implemented by the Energy Center, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and supported by German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and GIZ.
The project which started in June, 2014 has planted three thousand three hundred and ninety eight seedlings (3,998) in sixty-four basic schools in the Ashanti regional capital of Kumasi. The project is expected to contribute to minimizing the adverse effects of climate change, protect landscape resources, provide habitat for wildlife, improve air and water qualities and inculcate into the students the spirit of environmental conservation.
In each school an environmental club with at least two teachers as patrons and fifty or more students as members has been formed. All the clubs were provided with souvenirs (caps, pens and t-shirts) as a source of motivation and branding. The planted trees are cared for by the club and the implementing team. Regular monthly monitoring visits are carried out to assess the growth of the trees. Tree planting activities were preceded by a workshop organized for the teachers in the participating schools in May, 2014. A similar workshop was organized for the students in ten schools on how to protect the environment in March, 2015 – May, 2015.
The observations were that majority of the basic schools have a vast tracts of land adjacent to the schools and offer the potential for scaling-up and including more schools. With the massive show of support by the students and their teachers, the Ghana Education Service and the Metropolitan Assembly, the project is poised for further extension in the season ahead.
The major challenge is the destruction of trees by small ruminants and theft by local residents. To consolidate the gains made so far, a second phase of seedling distribution to replace dead and stolen seedling is ongoing. All seedlings are being protected by cages built using readily available local materials.
With expected 95% seedling survival, Me and My Tree Project is not only contributing to re-greening Kumasi, the once upon a time garden city, but also developing the interest and consciousness of the future generation in environmental conservation.
Text, photo and video are submitted by Richard Essoun (Ghana) – ressuon(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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