7 December 2008

AKSP -- November, 2008 Report

Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation: Greening of Arunachala
[November, 2008 Report]

The Forest Department intends to take full responsibility for the reforestation of Arunachala Mountain and we wish them well in their endeavour. After working on the Western end of the mountain for six years we will, from now on, observe the efforts of the Forest Depart while attending to plantation on flatlands surrounding Arunachala. This prospect offers greater potential for raising environmental awareness in the community. We are pleased to join two well established trusts – one on Arunachala's east and one on the west, both oriented towards the growth of sustainable ecological perspectives in children: The Arunachala Village School at Vediyappanur and Nectar Soma Trust at Somasapadi.

We are also engaged in the development of an organic model farm – "Prakruti" - on land offered us for this purpose on the Adianamalai side of the mountain. The land will first be developed with basic amenities before we begin structuring the farm with the introduction of organic farming techniques. On land offered near Arunachala Village School we will maintain a nursery for trees that will eventually be planted along roadsides and in villages on that side of the Mountain. The initial task in this direction is offered by the Panchayat at Selvapuram in Vediyappanur; who have invited us to design and develop a new burial ground, which we consider an honour. The children of the Arunachala Village School will be assisting us in this plantation as well as in the village itself and along the roadway leading towards the town of Tiruvannamalai.

We are in the process of training the children at the farm run by our Managing Trustee in using shadow puppet theatre for communication about environmental matters in surrounding villages. These children are forming a theatre group with Prahbun – a puppeteer from Bangalore, who visit regularly and assist with productions. This group will also give shadow puppet workshops at the Arunachala Village School where the Manager presents an ecological component in the curriculum. It is hope that this school will become proficient in spreading environmental awareness in their area.

At present we are building a nursery at the Nectar Soma children’s farm with considerable future prospects for plantation in the villages and on private lands. Adjacent is land owned by the Atma Saranalayam Ashram who have invited us to create a forest for its own sake on this land. We now feel oriented towards a wider arena of influence in our contribution to the greening of Arunachala.
[Apeetha Arunagiri]

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