BIS #6963 Tree Plantation Drive at DB Chhotaudepur

By Fr Chris Ferreira for BISMumbai

On 29 June 2023, the Past Pupils of Don Bosco Chhotaudepur Unit organised a Miyawaki Method Tree Plantation Drive to arrest the constant soil erosion that occurs along the Don Bosco campus boundary that runs parallel to the River Orsang at Chhotaudepur.

The Don Bosco Past Pupils Unit at Chhotaudepur chalks out its list of activities and events for the coming academic year. This year, the idea of promoting environmental sustainability on the campus itself was studied. And the local core committee members of the unit decided to work on the washing away of the campus boundary that happens every year due to soil erosion during the monsoons when the River Orsang swells.

The possibility of the Miyawaki Method of afforestation was proposed by Dr Ramesh Rathwa - the Unit President, and studied by the Unit. Ms Champaben K. Rathwa - a past pupil of Don Bosco Chhotaudepur and Chhotaudepur Bt. Forest Inspector presented the way forward and methodology to the group. 

To accomplish the project, make it cost efficient and most importantly, cultivate a spirit of love for the Alma Mater among the present pupils, it was decided to collaborate with the Eco Club of the Secondary Section of the Gujarati Medium School.

With the support of the school principal, Mr Ishwar Dabhi and Mr Ramesh Makwana, the incharge of the Eco Club, a letter was drafted seeking saplings of six varieties from a forest nursery. Around 700 saplings of Bamboo, Neem, Jambolan, Custard Apple, Eucalyptus and the Privet species - all tree saplings that are native to Chhotaudepur were planted; in fact, the Miyawaki Method of afforestation works only with native species that would occur naturally in a particular area without humans, given the specific climate condition. Planted at a small distance from each other, they reduce soil erosion and also control the force of water and wind, which is important for maintaining local biodiversity and controlling environmental health.

A stone hedge from the river bed was prepared to protect the saplings from the current of the river and around 650 saplings were planted by past pupils and like minded environment enthusiasts along the river that runs beside the school. The remaining saplings were planted on the campus. Fr Savio Silveira, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Bombay, planted the first sapling of the project in the presence of past pupils who were once upon a time his very own students when he worked years ago in Chhotaudepur. He expressed great delight and contentment, both over the fact that the alumni here are still concerned about the needs of Don Bosco and that they themselves are well settled in life.

The programme was spearheaded by Ms Champaben Rathwa, and the association members helped complete it within a short period of time to coincide it with the first rains this monsoon. This monsoon, the showers of blessing will bring along an environmental boon. Ms Champa when asked, remarked, “How little is this little contribution of ours in comparison to what Don Bosco has done for us”.