Five Class XI students from the Greater Chennai Corporation Chennai High School, Kotturpuram — T. Nirmal, S. Vignesh, M. Velmurugan, V. Harinathan, and N. Shyam — are volunteering with tree-conservation NGO Nizhal this summer. They would be at the Kotturpuram Urban Forest on River View Road, where they would pick up the nitty-gritty of raising and maintaining an urban garden.
S. Vignesh, says, “We got introduced to Nizhal through our school teacher S. Visalakshi, who is also a member of the trust.”
On the every-day activities at the facility, Vignesh says, “We water the plants; collect seeds; and collect dry leaves for composting. The dry leaves are also spread around tree saplings so that soil retains the moisture. Through this measure, the soil is enriched with nutrients. The seeds we collect at the urban forest go into raising saplings.”
Through this exercise, says Nirmal, he had been able to understand much about composting, seed germination and tree behaviour. “Students were excited to observe a number of birds including the Asian Koel, the Yellow-billed Babbler and a range of woodpeckers at the forest,’ says R. Sanjana, a Nizhal coordinator.