The University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) marked this year’s World Tourism Day by hiking on the Akwamu Gorge, an environmental focus park reserve. They staff members embarked on the adventure in collaboration with (Hiking, for Purpose), a hiking team of the Akwamu Gorge Conservation Trust.
This year’s World Tourism Day is on the Theme: Rethinking Tourism.
The Akwamu Gorge Conservation Trust and the UESD are now partners following an MoU the two bodies signed on the 5th of September, 2022.
The MoU among other things is to pursue a partnership in education, research, and environmental awareness creation. The joint hiking was therefore to cement the relationship between them.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson led the UESD team to go on the 2-kilometre winding, hilly and sloppy stretch. With him were the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Edward Wiafe Debrah, the Registrar, Mrs Mary Abena Agyepong staff members, and students of the University.
The team from the Hiking for Purpose was led by the Liaison Officer of the Akwamu Conservation Trust Nana Yaw Ampem Darko, who welcomed the hikers to the adventure.
He said, it is good to have a feel of nature, keep fit, and discover new adventures. He reiterated that the hiking compliments the MoU the UESD and the Trust signed recently.
Mr. Ampem-Darko said, the Trust has operated with other universities to do a baseline study on the forest and the results have been massive.
He was positive that the Trust’s collaboration with the UESD will further help identify other endangered species.
At exactly 7am the hikers numbering about eighty (80) started the walk from the entrance of the Gorge where they climbed up the meandering-hilly-forest, interspersed with some education from the tour guides. The hikers came across known and unknown species of plants and birds in the gorge.
The highlight of the hiking was when the team entered the cave that has the rare Picathartes Gymnoephalus bird and the Talbotiella Gentii tree on the exit. The hikers were told the Picathartes was found in only five countries including Ghana. They found two eggs of the bird in its nest hanging above the cave. The Talbotiella Gentii tree, the hikers were told is found in only Ghana.
In an interview after the more than one-hour walk, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson said, hiking is an aspect of physical fitness and the exercise brought out a lot of points for consideration when it comes to ‘our’ physical health.
He said, the trees and rocks in the reserve give reason for humanity to protect the environment as its influences their quality of life.
Prof. Nyarko-Sampson indicated that there are some rare birds and species that can be found only in the reserve and it is important to preserve them.
He said, the Picathartes Gymnoephalus Bird and the Talbotiella Gentii, tree need to be well-preserved as a matter of urgency. He stated that as an academic institution, it will help provide data, expertise, and personnel to assist the Akwamu Gorge Conservation Trust.
The Vice-Chancellor was optimistic the UESD’s collaboration with the Trust will benefit students offering Conservation Management, Environmental Management, and Geography and Earth Science which will serve as an outdoor laboratory for practicals.
He said, the various types of rocks they identified during the exercise will provide hands-on information to them. Prof. Nyarko-Sampson said, there is the need to promote the reserve as a source of tourism and the University will assist the Conservation Trust to update it to get the needed results.
The Registrar, Mrs. Mary Abena Agyepong was equally excited at the outcome of the hiking. She said, as a university mandated to gather and disseminate knowledge in the areas of the environment, the UESD finds this particular reserve very important. There is a specie of tree that cannot be found anywhere in the world and its medical values are impeccable.
Mrs. Agyepong stated that, ‘our actions little by little are losing all these unique trees and birds and now is the time to put our hands on the wheel to help protect the environment.’ Adding that, ‘there is the need to create awareness for people to be careful of what they do because when the last tree dies the last man dies.’
In an interaction with students of UESD, they said, even though the walk was stressful, they had fun and it broadened their knowledge about nature. They were able to identify some types of rocks. They described the exercise as exciting, fascinating, adventurous, and fulfilling.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UESD, Prof. Edward Wiafe Debrah later led the hikers to pay a courtesy call on the (Akwamuhene) Odeneho Kwafo Akoto II in his palace.