“Forest”– whenever we hear this word, all our mind presumes is – a vast area of land covered with green patches, which may consist of wildlife flourished with different flora and fauna, and of course tribal people residing and relying in & on the forest respectively.
But all this happens far away from civilized colonies which in turn is an another type of jungle i.e. “Concrete Jungle”.
But what if I tell you that you can actually have a forest in your backyard and, that too, in the heart of the city?
(if you are assuming that I am pulling a prank on you )
Then please give your mind an another minute to digest this phrase –
“Sorry, I am not.”
Let me admit that It’s not your fault, I, too, reacted like you when Mr. Siddharth (from Carpe) told us the same thing during the sessions conducted in the Carpe Campus Club (CCC) in our MIT college.
It all started in September. When Dr. PRASHANT AMBAD Sir started a club in association with the CARPE (Center for Applied Research and People’s Engagement) to carry out the projects of ‘Solid Waste Management’ & ‘Urban Native Dense Forest’. (let me tell you that this guy is the backbone of most of the extraordinary things happening in this college, whether be it ‘Unnat Maharashtra Abhiyan’, ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ or the current point of our interest the Dense Forest),
Firstly, Classroom sessions were arranged by RAHIMa’am, from Carpe itself, in order to make us aware of all the basic things which are required for research and data analysis. A week was spent on these sessions and still in spite of learning the research and data analysis we felt being cheated as we didn’t knew where to implement them.
But then came into the picture – Mr. SIDDHARTH Sir and Mr. PRAKASH Sir. I was familiar with Prakash Sir because of my contact with him during my research on “Nala Wastewater Project” which was done by him in our hostel campus in July 2017. They were here to teach us about the plants and their behavior in different environments. They also introduced various native plants which were easily available in our surrounding and had great medicinal properties and yet we had ignored them till now. Now we knew Dense Forest Project was on the track.
Soon a visit was arranged to the Gautala Autramghat Sanctuary. We did learn to collect the seeds and how to preserve them. We knew that this seed collection and preservation was not for our project but for us to connect to the forest. After being introduced to the native plants within the 4 walls , it was for us to visit those trees in their natural habitat.
Now we were one step closure to our goal.
But here came an unbidden but inevitable interval – Diwali vacation followed by our mid sem exams. Now we were waiting for our stars too align and kick-start the project . For instance we felt that we would need to come back after our graduation to see this project happening. (just kidding) I think that they were waiting for an ideal day. We know that an auspicious event requires an auspicious day to flag off and what could be a better day other than 19th Feb – birth anniversary of our Maratha emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
A grand plantation drive was conducted on this day which witnessed a grand participation of student volunteers along with teachers, HODs, Principals, Hostel Manager Col. VIRDEE Sir, Warden & Director of Sports Dr. PRASAD KULKARNI Sir and of course our beloved Director General Mr. MUNISH SHARMA SIR. Pictures were being clicked and vlogs were being made.
Now started the main task i.e. MAINTENANCE AND WATERING of these plants.
As I was a hosteler, I was assigned to make a list of students who would like to give their 2 hours per day for the task voluntarily.
I made a list. Initially, it comprised of non-hostelers but then due to permission and others constraints, I was compelled to make a new list. Now I had one more task to first convince students apart from the CARPE to volunteer as none of the existing volunteers resided in hostel. ( of course we wanted the “dedicated” volunteers)
Luckily, there still exists people who don’t work for the certificates and pictures and want to contribute to the nature in real.
I got the support of my friends-
These people did a great job and I didn’t need anything to do. I would confess that this project would have not been possible without these guys.
The reason why we should express our gratitude to them is that : when others were busy preparing for their exams and projects, these guys were doing some extra work and that too without any expectations of being recognized.
Also a special thank to the Mess owners and manager, RAVI Sir and others who helped to helped in watering in case we were stuck in any other work.
I strongly believe that one should not only mention the good people but also the bad ones.. (Just kidding)
But while we took efforts in caring and maintaining the saplings and were eagerly waiting for them to turn into trees, we were constantly facing the sarcastic words by our own friends. I won’t deny that it was baseless. They had a good observation that the plants were planted very close to each other. It wasn’t their fault as they were unaware of the concept which was invented in Japan by Dr. Akira Miyawaki.
We were aware of his multi layered plantation concept but after a series of explanation to different audiences, we just waited for the results to speak for the success of that concept.
(After a short vacation after exams) Now when we have returned from the vacation and we are truly astonished by the results. This has helped us to turn the very same mouths with the sarcastic taunts into the commending one.
During the past six months, we were provided with the opportunity to present our work and represent our college in front of delegates of prestigious Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Now, when we have presented to our beloved MUNISH SHARMA Sir and Bijli Deshmukh Ma’am in presence of our dear Principals – Dr. SANTOSH BHOSLE Sir (MIT-T) & Dr. NILESH PATIL Sir (MIT-E) who were in turn accompanied by our guide and programme coordinator Dr. PRASHANT AMBAD Sir and representatives of CARPE, we are just trying to summarize and recollect all the things we have come through in the past few months. There are many aspects of learning during this period : First (Related to our project) – We are now familiar with the concept of “Urban Native Dense Forest” and it’s advantages such as : The multi layering of native shrubs, herbs and canopy increases the efficiency of the forest and leads to positive competition between these vegetation and hence we get < 10× faster growth
30× more oxygen production
30× more carbon absorption
Less water requirement due to less evaporation from the land due to mulching effect created by the compact plantation.
Second (Related to us) –
While an interactive session after we had finished our presentation to Munish Sir
and Bijli Ma’am, Bijli Ma’m asked us a simple question –
“What have we learned from this project at a personal level ?”
This was a type of question which none of us expected.
But we knew that something has changed in our behavior when we answered spontaneously to their questions.
We realized that
We are now able to present to any audience without any hesitation.
We had a better communicative skills than our classmates.
Our answers were up to mark and came after a logical, analytical and rational thinking.
We had developed a team spirit and were still upgrading ourselves with every minutes of our life.
Yes…. And these all things we were realizing when we were spontaneously answering their questions.
Thanks to all the people who are mentioned in the texts and all the ‘Behind the Scene’ stars who may have contributed in the projects and our lives.
A span of mere 6 months could make such a difference in our lives was unimagined. Hence, I would like to see that this practice is continued for the further batches and also assure them that we would like to take the baton from the CARPE and teach our juniors about the things we have learned during this period.
Once again a veryyyyy veryyyyy thank you all !!