[Post Event writeup] YMCA plantation - I plant trees in whose shade I may never rest, and whose fruit I may never taste!!! - By Poornima

Thursday, September 21, 2017
I plant trees in whose shade I may never rest, and whose fruit I may never taste!!!
By Poornima

This was the attitude of all the selfless volunteers present at the plantations at YMCA, Nandanam, as part of ReGreen Chennai initiative who has collaborated with CTC towards regreening Chennai from the loss of green cover affected by cyclone Vardah. The plantations at YMCA spanned over two weekends on 3rd September and completed on 9th September, 2017 at the YMCA campus. The backyard of YMCA campus which lies on the Adyar river bank was ready to be converted into a small groove rich in a variety of trees. The soil and the location seemed yet another lovely spot to bring a small forest-like aura amidst a bustling city. As we arrived at the plantation site, it was a relief to see sapling pits were kept ready dug by machines, which allowed volunteers to save their energy on the rest of the plantation work. The weather was relatively hot but it did not deter the spirit of the volunteers. The organizers gave detailed instructions to those on their maiden plantation. Tools and essentials required were available promptly which proved the efficiency of the organizers. Volunteers grouped themselves, chose their pits and got started selflessly preparing the pits by loosening the soil before the saplings were installed, and bunds created, supporting the sapling with support sticks, fertilizers added to the pits to keep the saplings nourished and fight the harsh weather. Approximately 300 saplings were planted on 3rd September and 50+ saplings on 9th September which included native varieties of Neem, Poovarasu, Guava, Puli, Pungai species. 
They were planted on the banks of the Adyar river flowing right behind YMCA. To prevent soil erosion and to strengthen the river embankments, palm seeds were planted along the river. Palm trees are one of the recommended species for stabilization of river banks since their roots have the capacity to hold soil together and stabilize the river/stream bank and thereby river courses during extensive weather conditions. Stabilization of river courses also go hand in hand and when plantations happen on river banks why not capitalize on that factor too! By the time it was 8 am, Mr. Sun was not fair on us and everyone was tired. Regreen Chennai sponsored some energy drinks to sustain our energy and CTC humble volunteers brought water for everyone. At one point I stopped to have a look around me and it was such an inspiring sight to see none deterred by the heat or tiredness. Cracking jokes and laughing to keep their spirit undisturbed every group was focused with their saplings taking care to finish until a neat bund was created for each. Followed by a group session, a traditional CTC group photograph, we waited as Fr. Jegath Jasper Raj, who wanted to greet the volunteers. The weather on 9th September was relatively more tolerable with small showers the previous night. The soil was easy to work with and completed the plantations much earlier than expected. The organizers brought in yummy yummy hot vadas and masala tea to freshen us up before the traditional photograph session. It was a very good experience being there as part of green cover restoration with the happy-go attitude of CTC volunteers and organizers. There was never a dull moment during these events. It was a delight to see some parents bring their kids and engage them in this selfless activity.
It is not just enough if we recover the green cover for our offspring, but also to leave some inspired behind, to continue this noble act of protecting our planet for generations to come. The kids engaged actively in activities suitable to their potential and being such great helping hands. Ain’t a small step taken enough for one to go a long way!! Way to go kids!! This doesn’t end here. The chain continues. Induct one person a day into this noble thought/action and the chain never breaks. I had the pleasure of bringing my friends. With the upcoming monsoon and the maintenance efforts in the next coming months, this sure will be a lovely stretch of grooves amidst a bustling city. 



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