Ecological Orientation in Meghalaya: Abode of the rain clouds

Tarumitra was invited to Shillong the capital city of Meghalaya! A team consisting of Devopriya Dutta and Shweta Kumari spent a week in the city meeting with students and staff of a hundred year old St. Mary’s School and St. Mary’s Degree College. They came back very excited seeing the good will and bubbliing energy of the students.

Solutions to combat plastic pollution by a possible habit change was well addressed by Miss Asha, B.A. IIIrd year of St. Mary’s College.

A weeklong ecological awareness program in St. Mary’s College started on 24th of July and Tarumitra team of Devopriya and Shweta kept themselves busy every day for a week.

St, Mary's Campus

St, Mary’s Campus

on 25th of July. St. Mary’s College had invited Tarumitra to interact with thestudents for ecological awareness program and design action plans to assist Mother Earth.

Vice Principal of College & Chief  Conservator of Forest, Meghalaya accompanied by Tarumitra team.

Vice Principal of College & Chief Conservator of Forest, Meghalaya accompanied by Tarumitra team.

Function started with the inauguration ceremony on 25 th of July
where the Chief guests Chief Conservator of Forest of Meghalaya and DeputyComissioner of Khasi region, Meghalaya. Tarumitra’s Devopriya Dutta and Shweta were the resource people.

Dr. Sr. Mary Harriet receiving sapling

Dr. Sr. Mary Harriet receiving sapling

Tarumitra handed over green saplings all the way from Patna, Bihar for the green inaugural. The Principal of St.Mary’s College, Dr. Sister Mary Harriet welcomed one and all.

Devopriya Dutta's brainstorming session

Devopriya Dutta’s brainstorming session

Next day from 26th of July Tarumitra started interacting with students of different departments on daily basis, four sessions a day. Introduction of Tarumitra was common part in all the sessions followed by different action plans like Eco brick, seed bombs, street play, flash mob, brain storming session. Tarumitra covered nearly 3000 students in the college comprising of 19 departments.

Tarumitra was also successful in conducting a green morning assembly for 1900 students In St. Mary’ school where everybody took pledge to save Mother Earth. Interactive sessions with the students and staff including the Principal, sister Sonia was one of the highlights of green orientation in the school which lasted for an hour.

Sunday well spent with 100 kids of St. Mary's Home

Sunday well spent with 100 kids of St. Mary’s Home.

During the week long ecological programme, a visit was made to the
orphanage of St. Mary’s convent which turned out to be one of the best
sessions of Shillong’s ecological trip. The kids were really happy to know about Tarumitra Friends of Trees and all of them after an orientation about the campaigns of Tarumitra, said that we the people are the reason for all the problems like global warming, climate change, pollution and its we the people only who can come up with solutions.

Eco friendly Administrative & Management staff of St Mary's college along with  Tarumitra Delegates

Eco friendly Administrative & Management staff of St Mary’s college along with Tarumitra Delegates

A weeklong tour came to an end where teachers of the college presented the green report . The teachers proposed to make a green belt in the college for rare and medicinal plants along with beating the plastic pollution by
prohibiting the use of single use plastics at least in the college premises.

Action plan designed by students on ecological theme

Action plan designed by students on ecological theme

Even the students of the college for the very first time did a street play, performed flash mob, sang earth songs and came up with beautiful posters with eco friendly messages and slogans.





Monsoon Tree Plantation at Amar Jyoti School, Bodhgaya

Under guidance of proactive and dynamic Principal of Amar Jyoti School, Bodhgaya Sr. Kavita various species of trees (Karanj, Neem, Ashok, Arjun, Sita Ashok, Amaltas, Bamboo, Tikoma, Harsingar, etc) were planted and adopted by 100 Students of Class IX & X along with their class teachers Mrs. Sima and Mrs. Usha respectively.

Tree plantation by students of Amar Jyoti School

Tree plantation by students of Amar Jyoti School

They  planted one sapling each around the boundary wall of school campus.These students will nourish and care for these trees in their early challenging stage of life with a selfless hope to provide shades for future students of Amar Jyoti School. This flambeau of students at such young age will motivate generations of students  to come in Amar Jyoti School.

Sapling distribution by Fr. Tony Penda to students of Amar Jyoti School

Sapling distribution by Fr. Tony Penda to students of Amar Jyoti School

Director of Tarumitra, Fr Tony Penda distributed saplings among students. Ms Margaret Molomoo shared her experience of greeting trees and talking with them. Students were excited to find trees as their new friends to talk all their secrets and nourish them in their leisure time at school.

Students concerned  about Plastic pots of saplings planted

Students concerned about Plastic pots of saplings planted

Students also sounded concerned about the disposal of plastic pots in dust-bins as from dustbins, it may leak in to environment to contaminate air, water and soil. In discussion to find an ecological way to dispose it, they learned EcoBrick an innovative measure to imprison single use plastic in PET bottles.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar confers a Plaque of Approval

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There was palpable excitement among the students when they marched out of the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to meet the Chief Minister at the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan next to the sprawling Gandhi Maidan in the capital city of Patna.
It was World Environment Day! They were heading to Gyan bhawan..

Gyan bhawanGyan Bhawan Patna (International Convention Centre), is  built on the lines of Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. The green and quake-resistant complex, spread over 11.82 acres will be in two parts linked with a subway. Complex when completed will have several halls of different capacity including banquet hall, food courts and service area. International Convention Hall or Gyan Bhawan has a sitting capacity of 5,000, is a signature building.

They have been celebrating the World Environment Day since a week with a colorful array of programs including a few Residential camps, Road shows such as Cycle rallies, Tree plantations, Preparation of Seed bombs “beej bum” for monsoon plantations, Nursery preparations for conserving rare trees and Zumba finess sessioins to toughen the human body for summer ordeals.

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 Cycle rally to promote concern on air pollution and conservation of fuels: Ms Chumki das flagging off the rally from Jalalpur, Patnashashi chumki2 Chumki Das and Shashi Darshan,full time volunteer specialized in plastic surgery,  cycled to co-ordinate the rally for several days. They also saw to the staging of the Street plays in Saguna More. 

A Committee consisting of Devorpriya Dutta, Fr. Tony Penda SJ, Shashi Darshan, Nagesh Anand, Sarvjeet, Adarsh, Nilofer Praveen, and Praneta Rani from Champaran was active to make sure that the event took place in time.
Hajipur Team in collaboration with Tarumitra organized Street plays
A very specially prepared team of activists from Swabhiman, Hajipur,next district, came prepared to stage an ecological street play on the eve of the Environement day (Team with the Chairman of the Bihar Pollution Control Board, Dr. Ashok Ghosh, inside the Doordarshan studios Patna)

Pranoy IMS and Sr. Smita MMS who co-ordinated the training for the Street play were in for a surprise.  The team not only presented the street play right on the street corners, they were invited by the Ntional TV Doordarshan to telecast it for the World Environment day! That was a big surprise. The subaltern group from a nondescript village of Hajipur was suddenly on the National TV!

Several groups of school students visited the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to take part in activities such as filling polybags for nurseries, to prepare “seed bombs” i.e to make mud-balls of soil with seeds of trees inside.

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Several groups of students took pledge to plant and look after precious trees in their homes and neighbourhoods. (Group from Hajipur pledging)
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            Sr. Smita MMS prompts the Earth-pledge on the eve of the feast

The campers got up early morning on June 5th, they walked around the tree on naked feet, offered them arti to show reverence and Sr. Smita helped them to make the pledges to the Earth.

Nagesh Anand is a very creative volunteer who organizes Cosmic Walks for Big History Enthusiasts on Saturday evenings. Nagesh organized two cosmic walks in preparation for the World Environement day.

The Cosmic Walks are held either inside the Oxygen Bar or ourside under the trees. Nagesh takes a long stretch of clothes and arranges it into a spiral and lights up candles when he pauses the 36 Goldilocks conditions existed in the 4.5 billion year old history of the Earth. From the Big Bang to the arrival of life leading to the arrival of apes and humans, Nagesh tells the story in the form of a Meditation.
Cosmic walk inset
  The Hajipur group got interested in many activities. Nagesh (inset) narrated the Big History of the Universe and the Earth mother to the participants from Hajipur after the sunset. Sitting under the sky, under the twinkling stars, he made sense to them with the accompanyig cosmic music he got from Dr. Orla Hazra who initiated him into the meditatives.  One of the participants Balesh was of the view that the story must be retold to every village in Bihar. He found it very inspiring and liberative.

In the mean time, Chumki Das got her kids to organize street theater near Jalalpur city.

street theatre
 Street plays are popular ways of raising concerns on contemporary issues. Students presented several plays on the eve of the Enviornment day!

Pallavi Bishwas, an music-afficionado brought in her art students for a week long residential camp. Her husband, Pandit Avinay Kashinath and  their two children both music enthusiasts stayed on to rev up the excitement.

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 The music and dance campers from Nrivaga helped in the plant nursery of rare plants. They filled up hundreds of poly bags to sow seeds of trees. 
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Dr. Anil Sulabh, noted poet joined to encourage the children to plant trees as part of the Environment Day celebrations! Debutante Kashika receiving a lemon grass plant from Dr. Sulabh. Dr. Upendranath Pandey,  Mangala Singh and Shambhu Kr Singh (on the row)

It has been several years since Tarumitra realized the importance of connecting Art with the Earth. Two largescale art workshops held in the forest within a space of a decade confirmed the conclusion that Art promotes well being and integrity of the Earth and its life-giving systems.

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The Nrivaga alpana “art designs” shows the intricate relationship Art has with Nature. Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha sings lullabies to the trees of the Bio-reserve whenever she visits the place! She presented a very intricate raga this time. 

Last but not the least to join the campaigns were the Trangender community in the city. Reshma Prasad, a lively activist among them has been helping the students to raise ecological concerns among the bureaucrats of the Governemnt. She along with her influential transgender community  is known to remove many hurdles to get ecology its prominent place among Patnaites.

transgenders
 Reshma Prasad (third from left)has a reputation to move mountains, joined Tarumitra students to make the celebration of World Environment Day a big event in the city. Padmashree Sr. Sudha Varghese (second from right) has been a big support for the students. 

Coming back to our story of the Chief Minister passing on accolades to Tarumitra students, the big event took place on 5 June towards the afternoon. The venue was the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan the Internatonal Convention Center. Students congregated in large numbers and Devopriya and Pranoy IMS were asked to be seated next to the Chief Minister. Dr. Ashok Ghosh and his team co-ordinated the event. All of a sudden the announcement reverberated  across the hall, “Tarumitra representative, please step up to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister!”

It was the turn of Devopriya Dutta to scramble up to the stage amidst deafening applause..

Devo with Chief Minister 2019
 Devopriya in her lucky red kurti climbed up the stage to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is flanked by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi. Balram sir (DAV BSEB), Dr Ashok Gosh are on the  left. 

While handing over the plaque, the Chief Minister commented, “Tarumitras are the ones  who are protecting the environment!” That was a big positive stroke from the Chief Minister!
“While we appreciate the effort of Dr. Ashok Ghosh to get the official recognition of the transformative role played by the students of the schools and colleges, we are sure that we have miles to go before we can sleep or take rest!” said Devopriya Dutta.

Citation3
The Citation reads, “We felicitate the Tarumitra students for their contribution to make enviornmental concerns especially concerns regarding Bio-diversity among the people!”

Speaking to the Media, Fr. Robert Athickal SJ commented that Tarumitra was convinced that they were on the right track to push the agenda of Bio-diversity to the forefront of their campaigns.

Devopriya and Robert
 Devopriya Dutta  with Dr. Ghosh                       Zee News interviewing Fr R. Athickal SJ

Perhaps the cherry on the cake was a full page coverage of Tarumitra students by one of the leading newspapers, Prabhat Khabar with  a special supplement.

full page in Prabhat Khabar 2019
Ms Juhi Smita who did the full page story in Prabhat Khabar slogged for a week interviewing students and teachers across the State. 

A Lonely elegy played from the Arctic snow platform..

Two weeks ago the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise set off from the Netherlands carrying a very special load: the voices of eight million people. Messages from around the globe calling for governments to save the Arctic from threats such as oil drilling and destructive fishing.
Here are a few of the reasons why:
For its unique wildlife, including polar bears, narwhals and Arctic foxes
For future generations
Because it regulates the climate
Because it is a global treasure worth protecting from corporate greed
As the ship stopped in Svalbard, Norway, Europe’s gateway to the Arctic, it welcomed aboard a very special guest: renowned pianist and composer, Ludovico Einaudi. With him a grand piano, to undertake his most challenging performance yet, in the Arctic surrounded by ice.

One could see the pianist breaking into sobbing while his fingers play the tunes…

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology

Devopriya Dutta has been an avid supporter for the campaign to save the Arctic for the planet. She joined the 8 million who has backed up the global cry to save the Artic region that contributes substantially to the Climate balance of the Earth.

 

Asian cousin-ship towards a Pollution-free planet

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Wow! There were over 200 delegates from the Asia and Pacific Regions gathered at the United Nations Convention Center in Bangkok. The theme of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit was to establish resource-efficient and pollution-free planet.

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Tarumitra was represented by Devopriya Dutta and Dr Robert Athickal, the Co-ordinator. Devopriya delivered a statement on the impacts of pesticides and toxins on children, emphasized on organic farming and Agro-ecology, and appealed for achieving sustainable development by making environmental studies a part of the curriculum.

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology. The Assembly Hall readily gave her a loud clap of approval of her concerns she voiced.

The Ministerial Summit was held from 4th-8th September 2017. Not only the country delegates from the Asia Pacific subcontinent participated in this event, various communities representing the civil society made their wonderful presence felt too. The main communities who presented their views for achieving the 17 sustainable development goals were the farmers, women, NGOs, children and youth, indigenous people mainly.

This Ministerial Summit was conducted for adopting and declaring a strong ministerial declaration with commitments to achieve gender equality, basic human rights, eradicating poverty, creating opportunities for green jobs, thus ensuring a self-sustained nation.

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya's Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya’s Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

All the Asian countries are the member states of the UN meeting, who come together in the annual Ministeral Summit organised by the UN family, the strongest network and the strongest family in the whole wide world. Some nations may be developed, some developing and others may be on their way of becoming self-sustained nations.

This summit reflected upon the success stories as well as the struggles made by these nations to ensure sustainable development with green economy. It was very nice to hear about Singapore, Bhutan and Burma as some of the greenest nations which the rest of the world is looking onto. Not only were these three nations appreciated by the member countries, there were regarded as the role models too.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra's interest in Environmental Education.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra’s interest in Environmental Education.

One of the major prime highlights of the summit was that nobody said that they represented this or that country–Everybody was unanimous in a common echo,  ‘We are all Asians. One world one planet.’ It was very heartening to witness more of women representation and the topic of gender issue to be highlighted in a very appropriate way. Even the LGBT community shared the same desk, same dining space and the same stand in this entire summit.

The visit to Bangkok was an insight into the infrastructure of the country and the lubricant of this entire mechanism was the resource.

"Great hospitality of Thailand!" the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN buildng

“Great hospitality of Thailand!” the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN building

The main resource or the asset of Thailand is that the people are happy, and why? Because they are hard-working. They are leading a life very close to nature. Not only they talk about being eco-friendly or eco-sensitive, but also practice what they preach. The traffic is well maintained. Hygiene and sanitation are given the topmost priority over there. They are seriously working towards reducing marine pollution and promoting agro-ecology via organic farming.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries. Our Bhutanese cousin in the center!

The entire five days Asia Pacific Summit made us believe that we are not the only ones worried about our green future, but serious and more constructive and innovative efforts are being taken by the rest of the world as well.

Tarumitra believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam “the whole world is a family” and this Asia Pacific Summit made the motion very loud and vivid that the whole world is my family. Our earth is our mother; we all are her children. She doesn’t differentiate on the basis of nationality, state or colour. Then, who are we to draw boundaries?  Our common goal is ensuring a green and sustainable future while living the present as well, in the same manner. It was very heartening to address each other in the summit as ‘My dear cousins’

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

“For the five days, miles away from our own motherland, the other 200 country delegates became our family members. The summit is now over, but the bonds that have been made will remain forever.” said Devopriya winding up her observations. She added, “We all breathe the same life-giving oxygen, eat the same food that is produced by the soil and drink the same water to be alive and fully sustained. We are one family and the Asia Pacific Ministerial was all about celebrating this universal and irreversible fellowship.”

Devopriya and Fr. Robert visited the Jesuit house close by and spent a day with Fr. Beda Yassao S.J and students who came to participate in a leadership program.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J at Xavier Hall close by.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J (seated at the back) at Xavier Hall close by.                                                                                             

“We came back profoundly impressed by the way the hardworking people of Thailand are building up their country!” commented Fr. Robert when the group came back to the Tarumitra forest in Patna. ”  He added, “As an Asian country they are integrating development with ecology often successfully integrating the dual concerns so well.”

   Contributed by: Ila Raj, Tarumitra Intern, Nepal

Joining hands for a healthier planet

Patna 11-12 July: At a time farmers are leaving behind the traditional rice crops,  two hundred and fifty Tarumitra students from Delhi Public School, Don Bosco Academy, May Flower, S R Vidyapeeth,  Radiant International, Bishop Scotts, May Flower, MG Public, DAV (BSEB) A N College, St. Xavier’s College and Delhi University along with two students from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania USA congregated in Tarumitra Farm as participants in the annual Organic Rice transplantation Festival.

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An International consortium of students: Arushi Lal (Delhi University) Reem (St. Xavier’s College) Angie Rizzo (Lehigh University) Shashi Darshan (Tarumitra) Robert Smith (Lehigh) and Margaret Molomoo (Tarumitra) finalizing the Rice Transplantation festival.

The students  got into the wet slushy muddy field and actually planted rice seedlings excited about the rare chance they got in academic life.
The much-awaited monsoon rains added to the celebrative mood of the event.

Students, many of them for the first time, learned the art of planting rice using the time tested SRI way.

Students, many of them for the first time, learned the art of planting rice using the time tested SRI way.

The program started with a PowerPoint presentation on the preparations that preceded the rice plantation at the Tarumitra organic farm. It may be mentioned that hundreds of students worked hard to supply adequate organic manure for the rice cultivation.  The students also received helpful tips on the right way to plant rice seedlings according to the System of Rice Intensification(SRI) method in the field. After the presentation, the group made their way to the farm for rice transplantation.

Three rare varieties of paddy were sown this year namely, Bauna Mansuri, Kunjunju and Kakshan.  For the seventh consecutive year of cultivation, the students resorted again to the well appreciated SRI method for crop.

Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha hummed and sang songs right in the rice field,  dedicated to nature and Mother Earth so as to mark the auspicious beginning of the rice transplantation ceremony. All the students thereafter hurried around the  gooey farm and engaged totally into the rice transplantation work.

Noted classical singer, Ranjana Jha brought out a repertoire of traditional ropani  geet “transplantion songs” using a makeshift audio system in the rice field.   Amidst laughter, joy and celebrations, the students too joined Ranjana Jha and sang their heart out. The accompanying teachers and volunteers too walked into the mud to participate in the rice transplantation event.

Angie Rizzo from Lehigh  not only enjoyed the show but also enthused the students with her helpful support

Angie Rizzo from Lehigh not only enjoyed the show but also enthused the students with her helpful support

Veteran Organic Farmer trained in Japan, Ms Margaret Molomoo who supervised the entire organic farming said that it was time to make a break from the pesticide laden rice cultivation which is further enervated by the heavily expensive chemical fertilizers. “Poison is flowing out of our farms!” said Ms Molomoo. “If we don’t opt for healthy farms, who else would?” she further asked.

Tarumitra students got engaged into the Organic Farming primarily as a protest against the prevalent use of limitless poison on the Earth

Tarumitra students got engaged into the Organic Farming primarily as a protest against the prevalent use of limitless poison on the Earth

It may be mentioned that India resorted to Green Revolution in the sixties banking heavily on chemical fertilizers, ferocious pesticides and seeds from large corporations. It certainly made the country almost self sufficient, except that the deadly combinations of chemical fertilizers and pesticides poisoned the lands, its waters and rivers.

The State of Punjab in Western India who led the Green Revolution ended up in an uncontrollable  Cancer vortex.  Today a train “The Cancer Express” rolls out of Batinda in Punjab to a charitable cancer hospital in Bikaner in Rajasthan on a daily basis.

The high valued pricey Chemical fertilizers and deadly pesticides made the cultivation of staple foods  inordinately expensive. The result was that thousands of farmers committed suicides all over the country when there was a dry spell or a flash flood.  This has necessitated the government to indulge in large scale waiving of agricultural loans in billions.  

For six consecutive years Tarumitra students successfully completed the raising of the needed amount of rice and lentils.

For six consecutive years Tarumitra students successfully cultivated the needed amount of rice and lentils.

“Tarumitra got into Organic Farming seven years back to bring back health back to the dining table!” said the co-ordinator, Robert Athickal SJ.  “The students felt that they were purchasing diseases when they buy grains and fruits from the market.” added Fr. Robert

Being the founders of their green future, the students took deep interest in farming

Being the founders of their green future, the students took deep interest in farming

The concern for the poisoned sustenance food items kept coming back to the helpless students all these years. Tarumitra students felt that urgent action was the need of the hour. “We have successfully completed totally organic farming for rice and lentils last six years. The outcome has energized us to take upon more farming!” said Devopriya Dutta who co-ordinated the event today.

Robert Smith who is Tarumitra's representative at United Nations in New York joined the farming process!

Robert Smith who is Tarumitra’s representative at United Nations in New York joined the farming process!

Two American students from Lehigh University, Ms Angie Rizzo and Robert Smith also joined their counter parts in Patna for the entire cultivation work. Angie Rizzo was of the opinion that Organic farming was the right step to sustainable development. She said, “Students are the future of the planet and they should be sensitized about organic cultivation!” Robert Smith said that engaging oneself in farming such as paddy cultivation was being going closer to nature and it showed reverence to Mother Earth.

Devopriya Dutta (left) did her home work to pull in resources from all over to get the farm work to go regularly Devorpriya, Arushi, Marie D'Cruz, Akansha, Kalpana and Angie

Devopriya Dutta (left) did her home work to pull in resources from all over to get the farm work to go regularly
Devorpriya, Arushi, Marie D’Cruz, Akansha, Kalpana and Angie

Apart from students, teachers, interns, well-wishers and volunteers Shashi Darshan, D N Prasad, Arushi Lal, Neeraj , Gaurav along with Lalita and Sanju  were also present during this festive occasion.

 

News: Spring Festival with the induction of a Fairy House

 

Tree house fairy

Patna. 1 March: As part of the Celebration of the Spring season, Tarumitra students inducted a fairy tree house on a Kamroop tree (Ficus retusa) in their Bio-reserve in Digha. Tiny tots from Notre Dame Montessori and high schoolers from S.R Vidyapeeth and Adarsh Bal Vidyalaya along with their teachers climbed up the tree house built by students from Assam and Bihar

Tree inau Shashidarshan

Montessori kids to high school students joined the Spring Festival at the bottom of the Fairy Tree, Kamroop Ficus retusa. Shashidarshan (extreme left) was the force behind the tree house above!

Adding to the excitement of the children, Chief Guest on the occasion, Ms Glenda Gaulstan, Principal, St. Dominic Savio’s High School and Guest of Honour, Sr. Mary Namrata SND, Headmistress, Notre Dame Academy cut the ribbon and blessed the tree house.

A fairy tree at the Bioreserve? That is a long story. Last many years children claim to be seeing fairies on the Ficus retusa!  One of the native North Americans, a venerable woman from the Mashantaket Pico people  who visited us a few years back told the children that the tree was “filled with beings!”  and she clarified to them that the Beings are good spirits like angels and fairies..

When the students congregated in the hall yesterday, there was excitement and eagerness to climb up the tree to spend sometime in the tree house! They arrived in small groups and occupied chairs in the hall and waited for the Chief guest to arrive.

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Gathered at the Teilhard de Chardin hall, the audience listening to the Chief Guest,  Ms Glenda Golstaun

It was an extraordinary day at the Tarumitra Bio-reserve of rare and vanishing trees. With the spring season in full bloom, a new tree house (fairy home) was inducted amidst the presence of students, educationists, well wishers and above all children of Patna schools.

Tree Akshay

The 10×10 feet sized tree house was a labour of love between Assam and Bihar. Akshay Dutta was an expert on Bamboo work

Students from Assam and Bihar worked hard for more than a month for making the second tree house of Tarumitra in its premises. Software engineer and the chief architect of the tree house, Shashidarshan opined “This tree house is a step towards students especially, children befriending nature more closely.” Built on the rare Kamroop tree, this tree-house nestels approximately 20 feet high, having washroom too in its lay out. “The house will be powered by solar energy!” said Akshay from Assam who labored with bamboos to make the dream come true.
Why so much ado about a tree house?

The Fairy house, Pari mahal, has been in the consciousness of the visiting students ever since it was told to them that fairies lived on the tree!

tree house bonsai

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Tree house co-ordinated by Shashidarshan was an attempt to reconnect with the Earth says Ms Margaret Molomoo(right).

“This tree house is a step towards visualizing a simpler and greener lifestyle with a close bonding with tree-friends ” said the resident organic farmer and educationist Ms Margaret Molomoo from Darjeeling. “Our aim of igniting the young minds with a sense of reverence and respect for Mother Earth gets solidity on the tree house” she added.

It may be mentioned that veteran environmental activist Sr. Sarita Manavalan SCN planted the tree just 20 years back.

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Children climbing up to the “Fairy Home” on the Kamroop tree! Tree house focuses on our re-connection with the Earth

Devopriya Dutta who co-ordinates schools’ participation in ecological activities argued that human beings always want to go back to nature. “That’s why we prefer to go for a picnic to a forest floor on a holiday rather than to a Mall for shopping. All of us have deep bonds with Nature and every rendezvous with the Earth is a tryst we have with our long nature-connected past.”

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Principal Glenda Golstaun (Lower) Sr. Mary Namrata SND (middle) and Devopriya Dutta (above) coming down after their rendezvous with the fairies..

Paramjeet Kaur, a specialist on timber products said, “Bamboos can last up to 100 years or more if treated well. It is recyclable in many ways and has multipurpose usages. The idea behind tree house is also to promote bamboo architecture and making it a part of our daily lives.”

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Akshay Dutta from Assam overseeing the work of the tree house which took over a month

The program was followed by organic feast and refreshment straight from the Tarumitra organic farm. Present also were Principals and teachers from various schools along with Fr. Bobby Vadakkel from Bangalore.

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Led by Maria Winiger (left) and a Parliamentarian from Switzerland Catherine Hubacher (right) spent two days studying the working of Tarumitra.

Earlier a Delegation of Social workers, teachers and Parliamentarians from Switzerland visited the site and expressed their satisfaction over the experiments in Environmental Education imparted at Tarumitra. A Member of Parliament, Catherine Hubacher who climbed up the tree commented that the place was certainly fit for the fairies!

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Team leader Maria Winiger (top) with a veteran social worker Anita going up to the tree house

Cathering Hubacher, a parliamentarian from Switzerland inspected the tree and whispered to us, “Looks like it is fit for the fairies!

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Swiss MP Catherine Hubacher on the tree!

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Students from Adarsh Balvidyalaya and S. R Vidyapeeth getting used to the Tree house

tree Glenda Namrata and Devopriya

Sr. Namrata SND, Ms Glenda Golstaun and Devopriya Dutta evaluating the tree house in progess