The Satsang Foundation and Exnora International signed an MoU, to set up ‘Urban Dense Forests’ in 100 schools and communities across Tamil Nadu this year. The concept involves planting 1000 trees in 5000 sqft of land, so chosen and deployed using proven techniques in co-ordination with the Forest & Agriculture Department, to create a dense forest that engineers a desirable ‘Micro-Climate’ in an urban setting. This has already been initiated through our joint efforts at places like ‘The Indian Maritime University’ and ‘The Blind School, Poonamalee’.
“Through this MoU, we are formalizing our partnership and creating the structure for leveraging mutual strengths for maximum impact. Together, we aim to plant at least 1 Crore trees within the next 5 years across India.”, said Sri M.
1000 trees of Multiple varieties within a 5000 sqft area, carefully chosen to suit the local soil, climate and water conditions, suitably laid out based on the topography of the land, and interspersed in a manner designed to support each other’s growth, leads to the establishment of the dense forest.
The concept has drawn inspiration from international implementations of urban forests but has been re-engineered to suit our local conditions with active inputs from the Forest department. The various steps involved in the process of setting up the forest include.
1. Land, Water & Soil survey.
2. Tree Selection & Layout Planning
3. Ground preparation & Digging of pits.
4. Procurement of Saplings and Manure.
5. Planning the water resources. In many cases STP water is used.
6. Planting of the saplings
7. Monitoring, Maintenance and Nurturing for 1.5 years.
1. Cleanliness: Unused land becomes dump yards for waste and a breeding ground for disease and antisocial behaviour. Clearing the land, planting trees and maintaining the same immediately creates a clean, ecologically vibrant space.
2. Ecological Development: Apart from the direct benefit of it becoming a green lung area amidst usually concrete jungles, the forest also becomes home to a variety of migratory birds, insects and animals. Nearby residents have reported a rise in the water table by 10ft within a year of the forest being set up. A mini-ecosystem sets in.
3. Social Impact: There is visible attitudinal change amongst both the school children and the people in the neighborhood. People who used to trash the place, seeing the change in environment have become eco-champions, actively nurturing and maintaining the space. They become ‘Eco-Champions’ contributing and supporting other such projects.
4. Impact on Children: The children develop an innate connection with nature that they carry through their lives. This also automatically sets them on the right path and right thinking to become responsible and contributing members of society, without falling prey to social ills.
These are all Government run Schools across the state. As of now, site identification and preliminary race has been completed in 30 schools. Of these, tree planting has already started in 12 schools and more than 10,000 saplings have been planted. The plan is to maximize the planting activity before the onset of rains.
Activity Started Schools List
1. Govt. High School, Muthaliyar Kuppam – Marakkanam
2. Panchayat Union High School, Sholinganallur – Chennai
3. Panchayat Union High School, Maduravoyal – Chennai
4. Panchayat Union Higher Secondary School, Thirumullaivoyal – Chennai
5. Panchayat Union Primary School, Serangulam – Mannargudi Union
6. Government High School, Serangulam – Mannargudi Union
7. Panchayat Union Primary School, Pallayakotai – Kottur Taluk
8. Panchayat Union Primary School, Perumal Kovil – Kottur Taluk
9. Government High School, Manali – Thiruvarur
10. Government High School, Vembady – Namakkal
11. Government High School, Thotipatti – Namakkal
12. Government High School, Pavithram – Namakkal
The project involves preparing the land for planting activity, identifying the varieties suitable, conducting the planting activity, monitoring and ensuring nurture of the saplings for 1 year from time of planting. All this is done entirely ‘Free of Cost’ to the school and funded by donations and sponsors.