Standing under its canopy, two children scribbled down the name of the tree - “Rose of Venezuela.” Wondering at the quaint name, the two craned their necks to appreciate its lush branches.
The little ones were impatient and keen on scampering off on their own as their guardians and members of Tree Walk shepherded the lot from one tree to the next on the Museum grounds in the state capital. The number of walks this group has conducted has crossed 20, but Sunday’s was different in that it hoped to instil among children wonder in, and awareness of, protecting trees.
Cleansed of the dirt that coated their leaves, the trees seemed to glow in the post-rain sunshine in the afternoon. The voices of children belonging to the MBS Youth Choir rang through the grounds, announcing the start of the “Sing-along Tree Walk.”
An ode to the diversity of trees standing here was followed by a brief address by the music director M. Jayachandran, who inaugurated the programme. He commended the idea of extending the unusual awareness drive to include children.
About a month ago, Tree Walk held an exhibition of posters and plants at Balavihar at Vazhuthacaud and that was when the choir expressed its wish to participate.
“You do not really notice [the trees] unless you stop and bother to. Tree Walk allows that and that is why even I wanted to come, be part of the choir and Tree Walk on a Sunday,” said S. Akshay, one of the participants, aged 13. Catching sight of a budding fruit and clusters of paper wasp nests was enough to inspire awe among the little ones.
S. Anitha, coordinator of Tree Walk, said that after Onam, the group would conduct such walks especially for children. “We had a wonderful experience with students from Carmel Girls’ Higher Secondary School a few weeks ago; so we will try making this a regular affair in schools as well,” she said. The informal group has been active over the past year and were born out of a campaign launched by a few environmentalists against the felling of trees along the Old Collectorate-Vanchiyoor stretch for road widening.
Ms. Anitha, who has been involved from the start, said the city still lacked a “tree policy” to check indiscriminate felling in the name of development.