“Wherever you go, your presence should be felt,” Dr Gloria Djagbletey’s mother told her more than 40 years ago. Pondering her mother’s wise words, the doctor began to think about the strides she’s made in protecting the earth.
For the past 30 years, Dr Djagbletey has always been vested in conserving the environment and planting trees.
Observing large-scale depletion of green cover across the country, she took it upon herself to restore some degraded forest reserves.
Her journey though first began in 1988 when Dr Mrs Djagbletey first obtained a certificate in forestry at the then school of forestry in Sunyani.
She further pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Renewal Natural Resources Management, and a Master’s of Philosophy in Forest Silviculture and Management.
Later, she went on to attain a Doctor of Philosophy award in the same field at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology. All of which she did in 21 years.
Today, she takes on calls from people especially schools that are enthusiastic about growing trees in their communities to create their very own display of ever-beautiful greenery.
Alongside Dr Akwasi Duah-Gyamfi, Dr Ernest Foli, Dr Shalom Daniel Addo-Danso, Dr Reginald Guuroh among others at Forest Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research she started planting saplings and trees across board.
Dr Djagbletey helps people by planting trees of their choice free of charge.
Hundreds of seedlings are nursed at a cost which she would not quote but give out without any monetary motives.
Offering protection and supplements to the trees, she strictly urges people to take good care of these trees by properly watering them.
Dr Djagbletey also demonstrates a special interest in schoolchildren at basic levels. She wishes that they become educators who share information with friends, families, and community members.
In 2017, she decided to initiate a programme on climate change and environmental sustainability targeting selected schools.
Seven schools have been visited since the programme’s inception and over 2,000 of the children have been equipped.
Schools such as Hwereso R/C basic school, Kubease D/A JHS, Fumesua Anglican JHS, CSIR Basic School among other schools in the Ashanti region have received training and education.
Children who did not know the significance of trees and why they should be safeguarded are beginning to appreciate the efforts of Dr Djagbletey.
They are poised to actively champion and play leading roles in the mitigation process.
The outreach programme also impacts the broader community. Trees that are planted by children which serve as shade trees, windbreaks, control for soil erosion, and carbon dioxide sequestration.
Undoubtedly, this a selfless service that stands as true evidence of her commitment towards making environment eco-friendly. Her team and colleagues have planted over 1,150 trees on various school compounds.
Between now and ten years to come, the trees are expected to grow bigger depending on the species.
But for the general rule of thumb, fast-growing trees can reach 25 feet in ten years. Reasonable growth of trees will reach 18 feet in ten years and stall growth trees which will reach less than 18 feet in ten years.
Whichever way, Dr Djadgletey is very much attracted to preserving the environment for eternity. It doesn’t matter how short of a duration the trees need to grow, what makes a difference is their ability to sequestrate carbon dioxide and give out oxygen.
“Women are the most affected of climate change,” she says. That gives her the most undying will to strive for better environmental management, community empowerment, and livelihood improvement using tree-planting as an entry point.
If climate change hits the country hard, Dr Djagbletey says women would be at the receiving end.
“It is a fact that, when our pipes run dry, women would have to go and search for water.”
Again, “energy is important. Who goes to look for it when it is inaccessible? Women.”
Dr Djagbletey concerns bring forth the role of women in national development as the world celebrates women’s day.
She says she cannot look on while Ghana’s forest cover continues to deplete at a fast rate.
She is determined to go all out make a convincing case for environmental conservation.
With the 2030 deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals approaching, the fight against climate change intensifies each year, with governments allocating resources to other stakeholders to achieve them.
One of the considerably critical SDGs to Dr Djagbletey is SDG 5, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
Dr Djagbletey believes women as primary caregivers can lead the way and should be made to do so.
Healthy forests and vibrant communities, she says are essential parts of the global climate change.
This doctor has no intention of leaving the field of climate mitigation.
Until death, she continues to fight against climate change to keep the forest standing.