Joyeux Anniversaire Ainthinai - Wishing Ainthinai a Joyous Birthday
June 16, is a day that is very important and memorable in the history of Chennai Trekking Club. On the 16th of June in 2012, CTC’s new wing ‘Lets Grow Our Own Oxygen (LGOOO)’ started its operations by way of a plantation drive that resulted in 100+ saplings getting a life in Madambakkam and RA Puram. All credits to Sridhar, who sowed the idea of tree plantation in the minds of Co- CTCians by spearheading this initiative. Since then a huge number of selfless CTCians have come forward and joined hands to carry forward the GREEN mission with great passion and perseverance. Over time, the volunteer count and the number of saplings kept on reaching greater numbers. With this growth, came higher goals and bigger plans. The passionate volunteers gave their team a very beautiful TAMIL Name – Ainthinai. Ainthinai which translates to ‘Five Landscapes’ in English refers to the five different kinds of landscapes that are spoken to have existed in ancient Tamil Nadu. The name thus defines the team’s Vision- Put our heart and soul into preserving the five landscapes of Mother Earth. With this broad vision in mind, the team has indulged in all possible initiatives to conserve and contribute to nature.
Here are a few pointers from the will-never-end-list of Ainthinai’s work:
- As saplings got planted in great numbers the team’s concern shifted to sustainability. It was decided to conduct regular and Periodic Maintenance Activities on the planted saplings to ensure their growth and thereby achieve high survival rate. This has now become a process which is indispensable in any plantation drive.
- The team realized that lakes are the natural way of harvesting rain water and the current polluted status of the lakes are something to be really worried of. Therefore the collaboration with Environmentalist Foundation of India to clean and revive the lakes of Chennai.
- As the magnitude of our plantation works extended, we needed more support on the sapling supply and guidance on plantation. We sought and got the assistance from Tamil Nadu Forest Department in this regard.
- As our focus widened, we got interested in Solid Waste Management. We gave ourselves the chance to gain knowledge from ‘Hand in Hand’ who are doing a commendable job in conversion of organic waste into composts that can be used as manure.
- The more we started working on trees, the more knowledge we needed to acquire. And we made this possible for our volunteers with the help of MCC Prof. Narashiman, by conducting tree walks in Chennai and Madhurandhagam. This gave us the opportunity to know the significance and characteristics of the tress we handle with.
- Then came Chennai Coastal Cleanup, CTC’s flagship volunteering event. Team Ainthinai took this opportunity to make a difference. Instead of sending the voluminous waste to get dumped in the Pallikaranai dump yard, we decided to segregate the waste and send it for recycling. We vowed to recycle at least 80% of the waste and ‘Earth Recycler’ rendered their hands in this mission. CCC-5 garnished 50 tons of waste which are now in the process of getting segregated.
- Ideas kept flowing. We desired to create a perfect Eco system in a lake and the chance came our way in Ayyanarkulam near Kanchipuram. Ainthinai’s second anniversary was celebrated by a tree plantation event organized by Peter and the bunds of the lake saw 250+ new saplings.
- A dying private nursery with more than 700 saplings and no maintenance caught the team’s attention. We made a quick rescue mission and relocated the saplings to create our own nursery at the backyard of Vinoth-Praveen’s home. All the effort that went into the nurturing of the nursery saved 90% of the saplings and has now given us a huge supply of saplings for our plantation drives.
- Birds and their unique way of sowing seeds inspired us to conduct a seed sowing event inSouth Chennai lakes and Pallikaranai Lake.
- Control beyond an age is not good for trees either. We observed that the Tree Guardsthemselves were restricting the growth of trees beyond a point. So the team organized an event to cut off the tree guards from the grown up trees. By this event we removed around 50 tree guards from ECR Highway and Madambakkam and re-used them in our plantation drives.
- ‘Nizhal’ team had turned a dump yard into a nature park with quite a collection of trees. Will we miss a chance to learn? We happily agreed to work with Nizhal in the park maintenance activities.
- Dawn to Dusk Marathon was conducted in the ‘Only Existing Forest Land in Chennai’ –IIT, Madras. The team Ainthinai took it as a challenge and engaged itself in management of the waste generated by the runners and spectators. Our herculean efforts made it possible to give back the IIT campus as beautiful as it was.
- We grabbed all opportunities to learn. We arranged for a session on terrace gardening byExnora Mr. Indhrakumar. We even implemented what we learnt in the homes of few of our volunteers.
- To keep up with the saying-‘Practice what you preach’, we initiated the concept of Green Treks in CTC. Apart from the regular principles we have, like no littering, we also started procuring supplies for the trek with no plastic wrapping and chose to carry in paper/cloth bags. CTCians extended their support in this regard.
- To eliminate the ill effects of using PET bottles, we started distributing and using Reusable Aluminum/SS Bottles for the trek volunteers.
- Living in a land known for its agricultural heritage, we felt that it’s time to take a quick U-turn and re-visit our traditional profession-farming/agriculture
. We initiated the ‘Back to Our Roots’ series through which we made it possible for our volunteers to gain hands on experience on organic farming and other field activities.
- We also felt that we should prepare the next generation to indulge in all the work we do and as a first step we partnered with “Pudhiyathor” team and conducted session to the kids about Solid Waste Management with the help of Hand in Hand and Tree’s information with the help of Nizhal Team.
- We also regularly do Clean ups in Nagala, CTC’s favorite and most frequented trekking spot.
And with all these, time was also running as we step into our third year with satisfaction in all that we did and quest for many more things to do. We keep growing and our vision is widening as we grow. We look back at this point and realize that all these could not have been possible without the selfless volunteering spirit exhibited by each and every volunteer who have worked with us. It’s the collectivesupport that gives us the energy to keep going. Thank and You are two small words to express our gratitude to CTC and Peter who gave us this great launch pad and worked with us all through-guiding, supporting, advising and encouraging us all along. There were times when we were inspired by the achievements of others, but now has come a time for us to inspire others by what we do.
We request the same support and love from all CTCians and other volunteers. We wait with minds open for ideas and hands ready to get dirty for Mother Nature.
We might have missed to list a few activities but certainly would not miss a chance to serve the nature.