Count Quickly! How many jokes have you heard on the infrastructure and the state of Bangalore city? How many of those jokes are about the “Garden City” now being called the “Garbage City” or the “Concrete Jungle”? How many times have you driven down that road where we suddenly notice just air where there once was a lush green tree? We all feel the pain of not finding a tree on the side of the road whose sight and shade we enjoyed for years.
Who wouldn’t want to plant a tree? But the more pragmatic question is how do you plant a tree? We are not necessarily skilled enough to identify the ideal tree for the location or how to figure out the maintenance. This was one of the problems faced by us when we wanted to beautify the area around one of our primary locations of residence in Gottigere.
A friend of mine, Mohammed Saifee, contacted Treesforfree and showed the area we wanted to beautify. After getting the approval from BBMP to plant trees there, the plan moved ahead with the first round of plantation on July 23rd 2011 (jump to photos). The plantation drive was presided over by the community leader, Shk Taher Bhanpurawala, who planted the first tree (of Erythrina family) of about 150 trees that were planted that day.
Later, members of the Dawoodi Bohra community and volunteers from Treesforfree.org planted trees. The space was cleared of weeds and prepared by the community. Volunteers picked up various kinds of trees from the treesforfree.org truck and planted them in various spots while guarding the sapling against animals using a fence. Over the course of the plantation, I had the pleasure of meeting the volunteers and learn about their lives and their involvement with treesforfree.org.
For instance, Vinod is an active volunteer for the organisation and also maintains their website. He tries and makes it to many plantation drives, and in this case, he was accompanied by a newly-wed couple to whom he had gifted trees for their wedding. Aswin was at the plantation along with his wife and their small kid and the entire family took part in planting trees. Chetan had traveled a long distance to take part in the drive which was his first and he intends to attend many more.
All this is made possible by Mrs. Janet who started this organisation in 2005 in memory of her husband Mr. RS Yegneswaran. The organisation works with sponsorship from various corporations and individuals and provides trees to the people who want them in their localities. The trees in plantation drive at Gottigere were sponsored by various companies including Yahoo!, Microsoft, KPMG, etc… as well as many individual contributions. Some of the species of trees planted are:
- Wild Anjur (seemeathi)
- Wild Almond
- Lagerstroemia speciosa
- Spathodea (attracts birds)
- Nagalinga Pushpa
- Cassia Biflora
- Tabebuia rosea
The drive will plant a total of over 400 trees over a course of a month. The first round was held on July 23rd (photos below) and planted 150 trees. The second was held a week after a week on July 30th which planted 60 trees. The third one planted 100 trees on August 6th. The next one is scheduled on August 20th which would plant another 100 trees. The location of the planting is highlighted (approximately) on the map below.