“This tree is also called the ‘Mother-in-law’ tree because of the continuous rustling noise that the leaves make,” said D. Stephen, pointing to the ‘Vaagai’ tree, evoking laughter from a gathering of 80 people.
The Tree Walk took out on Sunday inside the campus of Fatima College was peppered with many such interesting anecdotes. Organised by Madurai Green, a non-governmental organisation which supports and promotes environmental causes with the support of Dhan Foundation, these Tree Walks have become a regular feature on the third Sunday of every month.
While these walks have earlier been organised inside the campuses of the Tata-Dhan Academy and Lady Doak College, the shady premises of Fatima College with nearly 1,100 trees hosted the 15th Tree walk. Fatima College Principal A. Jospin Nirmala Mary welcomed the gathering. Vice- Principal T.L. Lillykutty detailed the eco-sustainability measures that the college practiced and the activities of the Green Club of the college.
Dr. Stephen, Assistant Professor in Botany, American College, led the walk around the campus. “I have already toured the campus and made a list of 60 species of trees,” he said.
During the walk, the visitors were shown different trees and listened to the history and use of each species. “Nettilingam trees block sound. Factories have been instructed to plant at least 5 rows of them in front of their buildings,” Dr. Stephen said and recommended that educational institutions plant them in front of their gates to muffle noise from road.
The Fatima College campus is also home to Mango, ‘Chavakku’ or Whistling Pine, Neem, Indian Elm, Mahogany and Tamarind trees, to name a few. “While people admire the green cover in other cities, many of them fail to recognise or admire the flora that this city has. What we aim to do is to make people aware of some lesser-known aspects about the city’s green cover,” said N. Chidambaram from Madurai Green who also co-ordinates the Tree Walks. “For instance, very few people knew that the Tamil Nadu Polytechnic College campus has 75 species of trees. People discovered that during our last walk there and we hope that through these walks, they will be encouraged to make their homes, institutions or workplaces greener,” he added.
Saplings of trees such as Red Sandalwood, Kurinji and Silver Oak were planted by the participants to mark the occasion.