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Picnic cum Environmental work

Having grown up in Bhopal, picnics to nearby forests, dams and other 'natural abodes' were a regular part of my childhood. However, living in a Mumbai leaves me bereft of any contact with nature - the city is urbanized to the farthest of locations. From Karjat to Colaba - it is difficult to find continuous afforestation.

Nevertheless, Mumbai is near to the Sahyadri hills which are some of the most wonderful places to trek in the world - come monsoon and several Mumbai-Puneites throng to nearby forts situated in Sahyadris for outings.
But last year someone suggested a novel idea - rather than simply trek around the hills, why not engage in a tree plantation activity during monsoon? I present details of this idea here on my blog - those interested can replicate the same this monsoon.

The Preparations
Start with collecting seeds of fruits that you eat during next few days - Gauva, mango, cheeku, sitafal, tamarind, jamun, lemon, anything you eat! These seeds will be sown during monsoon.

FAQ: Not all plants grow in all kinds of soil - so which seeds to collect?

Most. tamarind, limboo(lemon), mango, sitafal(custard apple), jack fruit, jambhul (jamun). And, even if one does not know which one, all can be planted. Nature will take care to accept or reject. Normally, trees will grow any where, only fruits may not come in time if it is not suitable weather.
For example, Pune University, has a tree from "Newton's Apple tree". And, it has survived. only it does not bear fruits. The point is, since we want it for vegetative growth on mountains and in jungles, it does not matter.

The Trek
The major difference between a normal picnic and this one will probably be that you'd rather select a virgin spot, than a frequented picnic destination. An area which has lots of space to sow new seeds and for plants to grow. You might even want to do this somewhere near to your residence if you find a suitable place.

FAQ: Do we need to perform any soil study to decide the plantation spot?

Any area which is devoid of plantation, which is barren, is what needs to be brought under vegetation. Where ever and every where. In fact, plantation can be done in vicinity of Dams, on the hills which are almost barren. Many hills, thought look green, are mostly covered with only grass and few trees.

Fortunately, the atmosphere around Mumbai is moist and plenty of underground water is available in and around Mumbai, conditions very conducive for growth of any life, including plants. So, the task of plantation is not difficult.

The Experience
Last year, a group of volunteers I know conducted this activity in a village called Shivansai near Panvel. Any of you who want more details about their adventure can check this out; or you can contact these people through me. Just leave a comment below if you are interested.

All those who want to implement this - either in and around Mumbai or elsewhere (even outside India) are welcome to bounce back ideas and suggestions. I will try to provide any inputs required (or get them from relevant people).

PS: Thanks to Smt. Akalpita Paranjpe developing the idea of this activity and for providing inputs for content in this blog post.


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