After a three-hour-long search presented him with 42 trees belonging to 19 different species, 13-year-old Devansh Shah finally found what he was looking for : the sole ebony tree at Five Gardens, Matunga.
On September 27, Shah, along with 120 students from five schools in Matunga and Wadala, took part in a tree-discovery trail, as part of the second session of the Tree Revival Campaign.
“A tree expert gave us a description of the tree; the type of leaves and fruits. With a little help, we started our search and were happy to have spotted it,” said Shah, a class 8 student at Shishuvan School, Matunga.
This bucolic incursion started with a lecture on the importance of trees for the ecosystem, following which, the students were asked to document all the trees at Five Gardens and Parsi Colony.
The campaign, aimed at protecting and growing trees in the city, was jointly launched in July by Dadar-based environmental consulting firm Environment Management Centre (EMC), NGO Greenline, and conducted its first session at Bandra.
The idea of the campaign stemmed from the decreasing tree cover in the city that is making way for infrastructure and other development projects.
For 14 - year - old Esther Pullanthara and 19 of her classmates from Auxilium Convent High School at Wadala, having a fancy botanical team name called ‘Berrya Cardifolia’ wasn’t enough.
Donning school uniforms, the all-girls team went on a tree walk in the one of the many tree-laden roads at Five Gardens and recorded 61 trees and 13 different species.
“We learnt about dominant species, and how we can plant saplings in any space,” said Pullanthara, class 9 student.
Tree expert Katie Bagli said such an exercise helps children relate to nature.
“When children are taught about trees, they will think of conserving them,” said Bagli.
Of all the things taught in the workshop, what Avinash Rana, 12, remembers the most is the importance of trees in producing oxygen. “We were told that if there were no trees, a family will have to spend more than Rs2 lakh a month to buy oxygen,” said Rana, a class 7 student at St Joseph’s High School, Wadala.