What is Ainthinai ?
Per Ancient Tamil Sangam Literature our landscape has been divided into 5 categories which are Kurinji, Mullai, Marutham, Neithal and Paalai. Each of these five geographic thinai's are named for a flower that is characteristic of that landscape.
- குறிஞ்சி / Kurinji – மலையும் ம
லை சார்ந்த இடமும் / Mountainous Region
- முல்லை / Mullai - காடும் காடு
சார்ந்த இடமும் / Forest Region
- மருதம் / Marutham - வயலும் வயல் சார்ந்த இடமும் / Crop land or Agricultural Region
- நெய்தல் / Neithal - கடலும் கடல் சார்ந்த இடமும் / Sea Shore Region
- பாலை / Paalai - மணலும் மணல் சா
ர்ந்த இடமும் / Drought or Desert Region
How is Ainthinai related to CTC ?
Ainthinai is the active Green Wing of The Chennai Trekking Club. It consists of a large group of volunteers, from the 25k member CTC group, who actively engage themselves towards the conservation of Mother Nature. Over the past 3 years our Ainthinai team has been involved in various social and environmental conservation activities including but not limited to Tree Plantations, Sapling maintenance drives, Tree walk programs (to know about our native trees), Organic Farm Visits & Volunteering, Cleanup Programs in beaches, lakes and forests, Organizing Terrace Garden Workshops. In short people who are concerned about Mother Nature are part of Team - Ainthinai.
How it all started?
There is a start to everything. Few years ago, our CTCian Sridhar and his friends(from outside Chennai) were involved in a casual discussion about Chennai. It was during this discussion his friends started complaining about how hot Chennai is. That made him realize the reality that people from other cities/states are facing in Chennai due to hot weather. He joined with other CTCians and started discussing about the reason behind Chennai's hot climate, reducing green cover inside the city, no. of trees that are being cut down for infrastructure improvement, etc. That kickstarted our first Tree Plantation activity on June 16th 2012. After that over the course of time it got support from many CTC volunteers and now we have a dedicated group of volunteers team which is what we proudly call as "Ainthinai".
(img source : http://s3.amazonaws.com)
What is the Objective of CTC Ainthinai Team?
The main objective of CTC Ainthinai Team is to increase the green cover in our city and conserve the above mentioned five types of lands in all possible ways, be it planting as many trees as possible or promoting organic farming, . We are constantly involved in conducting various events to make sure our Planet Earth remains a better place to live in for us and our future generations. We try and spread awareness to as much individuals as possible about the importance of conserving our Mother Earth.
(img source : i1.trekearth.com)
What Ainthinai has done so far?
- Tree Plantations - As mentioned earlier, Ainthinai Team was formed with the motive of increasing the green cover in our city. But as we progressed we spread outside of our city and presently we have planted over 6100 saplingsaltogether in Chennai, Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai, Karur, Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Tindivanam and few other locations. We always make sure that we plant indigenous saplings instead of any hybrid or non native trees.
- Saplings Maintenance Drives - Ainthinai strongly believes that planting a sapling is not just enough, we also need to make sure that they are maintained well and it grows out into a tree. To ensure that we conduct regular maintenance drives at our plantation locations. Typically we carry out tree plantation activities during monsoon season (June-December) and follow it up with maintenance drives at the same locations during January - May months. Our maintenance activities usually involves removing weeds around the saplings, adding mulching to the saplings, watering, adding manure, fixing/removing tree guards and installing water management techniques (drip irrigation).
- Tree Walk Programs - In our daily life we go in search of a shady tree to rest, stand or park out vehicle safely away from the sunlight. These are the trees that provide us the much needed protection from sunlight, yet standing silently and producing Oxygen for us to breathe in. But have you ever wondered about what is the kind of tree that we are standing under or we have parked our car under ? Tree Walk programs are conducted to address this and promote awareness about the kind of trees that we come across in our daily life, learn about the benefits they provide us, etc. We conduct periodic Tree Walk programs for volunteers with the help of experts. As of now we have conducted multiple Tree Walk programs in MCC (with the help of Prof. Narashimman), Kotturpuram Tree Park (with the help of Nizhal team) and Yerankadu Arboretum.
- Volunteering Lake Cleanups - Lakes are nature's way of harvesting rain water and the current polluted status of our lakes are something to be really worried of. In collaboration with Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI)we are involved in clean-up drives across various lakes of Chennai in the hopes of reviving them.
- Organic Farm Visits - Ainthinai strongly believes that “Agriculture is our Culture”. We conduct volunteering activities in various organic farms in and outside the city. This is done with the motive of educating our current generation about our Roots, hence these events are named as "Back to our Roots". This initiative provides wonderful platform to volunteers to learn more about agriculture, organic way of doing it, etc. Our typical volunteering activities in farms includes Paddy Transplantation, De-weeding, Harvesting, Ploughing, Preparing Organic manures, etc. We take this chance to thank Organic Ville (located near Camp road) and Mr. Kannan for providing a opportunity for our volunteers to learn more about agriculture.
- Waste Segregation in CCC - Chennai Coastal Cleanup - India's biggest yearly cleanup activity conducted by The Chennai Trekking Club for the past 6 years. More than 5000 volunteers participate in this cleanup and collect garbage spread across from Marina to Uthandi. An approx of 50 tonnes of garbage is being collected as part of CCC every year. In this initial two years of CCC the collected garbage was being sent to our corporation dump yards, until the third edition of CCC which is when our Ainthinai team came up with the idea of segregation of our garbage and recycling as much as possible. Our lead volunteers during the cleanup make sure that the garbage is collected on a segregated basis, so that it can be recycled as much as possible and help reduce the overhead on our recycling partner. Last year more than 80% of the garbage that was collected as part of CCC was recycled with the help of our recycling partner Earth Recycler and only the remaining 20% was sent to dump yards.
- Terrace Garden Workshops - With the motive of "Lets grow our own food", Ainthinai team conducts regular workshops, events and provides opportunities for volunteers to learn about Terrace/Kitchen Gardening. With the help of these workshops many of our volunteers have started setting up their own terrace gardens and grew their own vegetables thus ensuring a healthier life by consuming vegetables that are grown free of artificial chemicals and other pesticides.
- Nursery Maintenance Drives - Ainthinai grows its own saplings in its Nursery. Nurseries are the birth place of every sapling, which will eventually grow into a tree one-day. In order to provide our volunteers the knowledge about relationship between a sapling & soil and how a sapling is being grown, we let them work in our nursery, where they get hands on experience on how a sapling is being grown. We conduct such periodic nursery maintenance drives to provide a platform to our volunteers for understanding soil, mother bed, sowing, packing the sapling along with the soil, transplanting them, etc.
- Volunteering - Being a member of Volunteering Club, Ainthinai believes that volunteering is fun :). So we as a team never hesitate to lend our hands and extend support for those who are working on conserving Mother Nature. During one of our visit last year to Coop Forest (Salem) our volunteers planted around 1000 saplings inside Coop Forest and Puvitham. Similarly we conduct volunteering events to Sadhana Forest (Auroville) to learn techniques which have been successfully implemented there and also lend our volunteering support in their daily community activities and constructing water conservation bunds along the stream, etc.
- Green Treks - 'Practice what you preach'. We believe in this. Thats why Ainthinai initiated the concept of Green treks in CTC. Apart from the regularly followed principles of CTC, which includes no littering, we also started procuring supplies that are needed for the trek with no plastic wrapping and chose to carry them in paper/cloth bags. To eliminate the ill effects of using PET bottles we introduced Stainless Steel bottles for trek volunteers and participants.
Milestones of Ainthinai
Over the past 3 years, Ainthinai has involved in so many activities. Among those few important and major ones are listed below.
- Ayyangarkulam, Kanchipuram
Ayyangarkulam is a village in Kanchipuram district. CTC Ainthinai identified a suitable location to conduct tree plantation drive there and executed the plan on March 24, 2013 wherein our team planted 50 saplings around the lake bund. With the continuous support from locals and maintenance drives by our volunteers during that summer, most of the saplings have grown well. Ainthinai conducted another Anniversary Tree Plantation drive on June 29, 2013 at the same village and planted 250+ saplings with the help of around 200 selfless volunteers. An major corporate company have lend their support on planting another 750 saplings at the lake bund. With the continuous effort of CTC Ainthinai, Ayyangarkulam is in the process of becoming a perfect eco spot with lots of green cover.
- Green Day at Thenneri
This is one of the recently initiated signature event of CTC Ainthinai. We are in the progress of creating a eco-forest in Thenneri. This village is one of the anciently significant and culturally important village. Its believed that the name “Thenneri” drives from one of the early Cholas named “Thirayan” who constructed a huge lake in this village. Ainthinai was so blessed to execute its project of “Forest in Making” at this same lake. With the help of Forest Department and selfless volunteering effort from 200+ CTC volunteers we planted over 1000+ saplings in the lake bund of Thenneri. We took much care on choosing the saplings that are suitable to the soil and in turn increasing the Bio-Diversity of this place. Till date we have conducted 10+ regular maintenance drives over the summer to ensure maximum survival rate of total saplings planted. Hard work always pays. As a result of these constant maintenance activities, over 80% of the saplings have survived this hot summer and are waiting to witness their first monsoon. A forest is getting created. J
- Tree Plantation at Gangai Konda Cholapuram
Chola Dynasty is one of the ancient kingdoms which ruled Ancient Tamil Nadu. As a celebration to mark 1000 years of King Rajendra Cholar, CTC Ainthinai got the golden opportunity to conduct a Tree Plantation drive at the ancient Capital of Chola Kingdom, which is Gangai Konda Cholapuram. With the help of Mr.Gomakhan, CTC Ainthinai Team planted 87 saplings in the Memorial Park of King Rajendra Cholar which is being constructed to mark the occasion of King Rajendra Cholar’s 1000 Years Festival.
Do join us in our future events. Look out for CTC event mailers marked with the name Ainthinai.
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