Chennai

Sowing seeds of conservation

Caption:-KRISHNAGIRI TAMIL NADU 28-08-2017 KA29 Seed in KRP DAM (3).jpg
{News pix}
Afforestation through seed balls carried out by Unarvugal NGO in 
Katheri Hills in Krishnagiri.
Photo: N.Bashkaran

Caption:-KRISHNAGIRI TAMIL NADU 28-08-2017 KA29 Seed in KRP DAM (3).jpg {News pix} Afforestation through seed balls carried out by Unarvugal NGO in Katheri Hills in Krishnagiri. Photo: N.Bashkaran   | Photo Credit: N_BASHKARAN

Vaanavil trains children in seed-ball making so that they make the best use of their Navarathri vacation

Last Sunday, children at La Celesete, a gated community in Madhanandapuram, near Porur, were making balls with wet soil and manure. And then, they inserted seeds of native trees into these mud balls.

They made around 1,000 such seed balls and placed them in a tray to dry.

Residents of the apartment complex, including children, were engaged in this exercise as part of an initiative of Vaanavil, an environment forum of the gated community, founded in October 2014.

Vaanavil has initiated this afforestation exercise as Navarathri holidays will begin soon and many residents of the gated gated community are expected to travel to faraway towns and cities. The idea is that during their journey, they could throw these seeds balls on barren lands.

Appropriate season

“This is the right time for throwing seed balls the north-east monsoon is not too far away. Once the rain starts, the seed would begin to germinate. Making seed balls is an extension of our tree planting exercise. We have planted well-grown tree saplings at Madhanandhapuram and Kolapakkam. The saplings have been fenced with wire meshes. The residents of those localities have agreed to water the saplings and nurture them,” says B. Balaji, a founding member of Vaanavil.

Seeds were collected from the open space reservation (OSR) land of the Greater Chennai Corporation where many trees are found.

Also, a resident of La Celeste, Geetha Jawahar contributed 200 seeds of fruit-bearing trees such as naval, custard apple and sapodilla.

Besides the residents of La Celeste, residents of other sections of the neighbourhoods took part in the exercise and contributed seeds.

A resident of Porur, B. Ramesh Babu contributed around 400 seeds towards this one-day exercise.

“My office is at Perungudi and I drive through Guindy, Velachery and Taramani. I take the interior lanes of residential localities to avoid the traffic on the main thoroughfares. There are many trees in these neighbourhoods and their seeds can be seen scattered around. My collection of seeds consists largely of neem seeds gathered from the Perungudi MRTS station. The other seeds are vaagai, poovarasu and yanaai kundumani,” says Ramesh, an active volunteer of Vaanavil.

The seed balls were made under the guidance of Lakshmi Kannan, who is also a member of Vaanavil. “I recently underwent a hands-on training programme on preparation of seed balls in Bengaluru. After terrace gardening, the practice of seed ball making is popular in Bengaluru. There, many gated communities and other residential colonies now show a great deal of interest in this method of afforestation. So, I wanted to introduce it in our locality,” says Lakshmi Kannan. Vaanavil has tentatively planned its next session of seed-ball making on September 24. “A discouraging factor in the seed-ball exercise is that we cannot keep track of the seed balls. We would never come to know as to how many of them germinated and survived. That’s why we have to keep a target of making 1,000 seed balls so that we could hope that a minimum of 50 to 100 or less than 25 may survive,” says Pallavi Arvind, another founding member.

Volunteers sought

Vaanavil invites volunteers from other gated communities and neighbourhoods to take part in this exercise.

Those interested in participating or donating seeds for this exercise may call B. Balaji at 95512 59696 or Pallavi Arvind at 98406 80173.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 8:48:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/sowing-seeds-of-conservation/article19683089.ece

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