Green Warriors

Peepal Baba, Trees and community participation

Azad Jain who is fondly known as Peepal Baba lives in New Delhi and has engaged on the issue of afforestation and tree plantation across the country. When he was 10 years old, a school teacher taught him the value of planting trees.

Later in his college, he was a student of English literature but was rather interested in nature’s literary references and idioms. He is known for his contribution to protecting forests and encouraging community participation.

Peepal Baba’s life experiences demonstrate that in order to contribute to the well-being of our ecosystem, it is primarily important to be motivated to protect them. He is at the forefront of community work and tackles the complex issue of tree plantations and their conservation in a simple manner.

About The Organisation
● Established by Peepal Baba, Give Me Trees Trust works towards the broader theme of tree plantation and tree conservation. Their work isn’t just restricted to tree plantation & conservation but goes beyond it to making compost, developing urban forests, developing nurseries and skill development of communities, etc. Sustainability and minimal use of resources are key principles of Give Me Trees Trust. They train people on making compost using kitchen waste and also teach the techniques of vermicompost. Through experts, Give Me Trees Trust identifies suitable land for tree plantation and forms policies on tree and forest development only after taking consent from concerned government authorities. A major part of their work involves planting trees on barren and donated lands.

A journey from Hunting to Conservation

Dr Salim Ali was the first ornithologist to conduct systematic studies of birds in India. Salim Ali was born on 12 November 1896 in Mumbai. He was orphaned at a young age and was raised by his maternal uncle. As a child, Salim Ali and his brother often indulged in hunting birds with air guns.

Once on their hunting expedition, he shot down a unique kind of sparrow. To enquire and learn more about the bird, they went to the Bombay Natural Historical Society and discovered it was a lesser-known ‘yellow patch sparrow’. This experience was remorseful for him and he decided to dedicate his life to the study and advocacy of birds.

In his autobiography ‘The Fall of the Sparrow’, he has described more such fascinating stories in detail. In post-independent India, he contributed in saving various bird species from extinction and discovered new bird species in South Asia. Dr Salim Ali was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1958 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1976 by the Government of India for his contribution to ornithology and Indian zoological sciences.
He surveyed various species of birds extensively and wrote detailed books on their habits and habitats in the undivided pre-independence British India.

Dr. Ali co-authored the ‘Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan’ on the study of birds of India and Pakistan with the American ornithologist Sydney Ripley. The book remains a fascinating guide for bird enthusiasts and scientists.

Dr Ali also worked as an ornithologist and environmental advisor with former Prime Ministers of India, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Jane Goodall honoured with ‘Wildlife Legend Award’

The Sanctuary Nature Foundation awarded its most prestigious ‘Wildlife Legend Award’ to the world’s leading expert on primatology, Dr Jane Goodall. Primatology is the scientific study of evolution, and the behaviour of non-human primates (monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, etc).

She is globally known for her contributions to conservation, and social and behavioural studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania, Africa. In 2002, she was named a UN Messenger of Peace. Breaking all gender stereotypes, Goodall pursued this field when biology and science were viewed as men’s only disciplines. The findings of her studies demonstrated that there are great similarities between humans and chimpanzees in the spheres of emotion, intelligence, family and social relationships. She discovered that chimpanzees also build tools for extracting ants and termites from mounds and are just as complex creatures as humans.

People’s Science Movement Leader MK Prasad Dies

Legendary Environmentalist Professor MK Prasad took his last breath on 17 January while going under treatment for Covid-19. MK Prasad dedicated his life to conserving the tropical rainforests of southern India.

The Silent Valley of the Western Ghats, a well-protected, biodiversity-rich national park, is a living memorial for Prasad’s insights, passion, deep reading and commitment to mother nature. An all-time inspiration to environmental activists, Prasad was a progressive people’s science movement leader called “Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishath.”

Jadhav Mulai - The Forest Man of India

Mulai forest is one special forest in Assam as it was made alone by Jadhav Mulai Payeng in a span of 30 years. His work for environmental protection has earned him the title of ‘The Forest Man Of India’ and he has also been awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2015.

Mulai Kathoni, or Mulai forest, is spread across 550 acres in Kokilamukh, a village in the Jorhat district of Assam. The mixed-species forest is now home to many animal species like the Bengal tiger, one-horned Rhino, and Asian Elephants. The forest planted has also helped to reduce soil erosion caused by rivers in Assam. This man-made forest is as sufficient as any other natural forest in conserving wildlife and preventing soil erosion.

Tulsi Gowda - The Encyclopedia of forest

A native of Honnali Village in Karnataka, Tulsi Gowda has planted more than 30,000 trees in the last 60 years. She started her journey as a 12-year-old child. She was especially appreciated when she walked barefoot to the stage clad in her native costume and accessories for receiving the award from the President of India. She is also known as the ‘encyclopedia of the forest’.

Tulsi Gowda began her journey as a daily wage labourer after which she was appointed as a worker in Karnataka’s forest department. She is particularly interested in native species of plants and trees. She has often encouraged her community members and farmers for afforestation. She believes that we can put an end to human-animal conflicts by planting more fruit trees in forests. She raised her concern against the increased use of non-native and decorative species of plants

Tulsi Gowda’s Padma Shree award is indeed a matter of honour for those associated with the issues of environment and environmental education. In an interview with the New Indian Express, she told that in her discussion with the Prime Minister, she requested him to completely ban the cutting of trees and plants.