This is a brief of my experience at the Tree Plantation Drive at Raghavendra Gou Shala, Malur. I joined Youth For Seva quite recently and, in fact, this was my first volunteering event through them. To say that that it was enjoyable and satisfactory would be an understatement. Not only did I plant saplings, but also learnt to work with new people in a new environment and learnt a lot about the current situation of native Indian cows.
Vruksha Janani was a five hour event on 2nd July 2017, in which more then one NGO and many individuals participated. The event was mainly conducted by GoPals and the plantation drive led by SayTrees. The main sponsoring Corporate partner was Visa. A team of about 40 people came from Visa and students from two local schools also participated in the event. On the whole, about 500+ volunteers joined hands to plant around 300 saplings. All the saplings were about an year old and are local (native) species. The surviving saplings will grow, with maintenance, to be huge trees creating a miniature forest-like environment.
After a warm freshly made breakfast with tea, all the volunteers were shown how to place the saplings, add manure and soil and build a bundt around each sapling so that it retains at least 20 litres of water. The SayTrees members also showed us how to place support sticks next to each sapling and tie them together. After an hour of digging and planting, two water tankers were brought to the plantation and a large human chain was formed around the saplings. This was undoubtedly the most fun and interactive part of the event. After introducing ourselves to our neighbouring volunteers in the chain, we passed buckets of water along and gave about 20 litres to each plant. Having completed two satisfactory hours of spending time in nature, we retreated back to the main area where a stage and seats had been put up. There were quite a few entertaining activities for children and we learnt a lot about the Gou Shala. After that, a most delicious lunch was served to all the volunteers present, including the school children.
Meanwhile, we were shown around the Gou Shala where there are around five large cow sheds, with more than 15 different breeds of native Indian cows. They also have an enclosure with many cows which were rescued from slaughter houses. Did you know that what cows exhale, mostly consists of Oxygen? How much better can these devine animals get? Many products made out of cow milk, cow urine and cow dung which are manufactured in a factory within the Gou Shala, were sold there. The entire place does not have any external source of electricity, since electricity is generated from Gobar Gas in the factory there and can be used for 7 hours a day.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time and I am looking forward to do more activities with YFS. I would definitely encourage anyone interested to give volunteering, especially tree plantations, a try. Trust me, the joy of actually doing something is just the cherry on top with the amount of things you learn at such an event.