GHANA YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT EMBARKS ON NATURE HIKE TO ANANSEKWAE
In commemoration of Earth Day 2022, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) embarked on a nature hike to AnanseKwae, a 42-acre forest reserve in Mampong of the Eastern Region of Ghana. The forest was birthed out of the efforts of a passionate naturalist and conservationist, Professor Kofi Asare Opoku.
Out of passion for the environment and conservation of nature using African traditional beliefs and values, the octogenarian earmarked this large patch of forest to conserve and protect endangered ecological and tree species in the country. He named the area; AnanseKwae, which translates as Spider’s Forest. Speaking about the inspiration behind the name, the former academic indicated that Ananse (spider) in Akan folklore is a curious creature who according to our ancestors’ mobilized materials for its web from within itself, unlike other animals that built their homes with foreign materials. Ananse, therefore, is a symbol of self-reliance, a trait needed for the development of Ghana and Africa as a whole.
The event was organized to give people, especially the youth, the opportunity to appreciate nature and learn from Professor Opoku some of the ways they can contribute to safeguarding nature and the environment. The hike was also an opportunity for people to connect with nature, away from the busy life of the city.
During the walk, hikers explored the forest and learnt about the different plant species that existed in it; how they came to be in the forest, their benefits to the environment and ways they can take care of them. The hike was accompanied by beautiful folklores told by the host who is also an authority on Traditional African Religion and a former Associate Professor of Religion and Ethics and a former chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana.
At the end of the event, hikers gained insight into forest and nature conservation and expressed excitement to have participated. They also looked forward to similar events in the future.