Stepping into its third year, Sri Vanam, an urban trail forest spread over one acre and created with the aim to nurture a huge nursery with 32,320 saplings to symbolically represent RID 3232 at the Chennai Tidel Park, got a facelift in July this year. Chennai Corporation commissioner J Radhakrishnan unveiled the name board of Sri Vanam Rotary in the presence of Apollo Hospitals vice-president Preetha Reddy, DG-elect Mahaveer Bothra and the Go Green chairperson Sivabala Rajendran from RC Chennai Meraki. The urban forest that has blossomed on a vast barren ground is providing oxygen detox to regular walkers and residents of the neighbourhood.
It was during the tenure of PDG J Sridhar that Project Sri Vanam was inaugurated in July 2021 in partnership with the Chennai Corporation and Communi-Tree, a local NGO. “Our noble vision to protect the environment, prevent soil erosion, and curb pollution through planting of trees have attracted many partners in Project Sri Vanam. So far, we have planted 7,000 saplings with a three-year agreement to nurture these plants till they become self-sustainable,” said project chair Sivabala. From being an eyesore littered with garbage dumps, this barren land owned by the Chennai Corporation at the Tidel Park was converted to a lush green, urban forest bustling with biodiversity attracting small animals, colourful butterflies, insects and birds from far-off lands, a pleasure to the sight, she explained.
As the guests and officials were taken around the forest trail, “it was a moment of pride and bliss for us all to witness how the saplings planted three years ago had grown to eight to ten feet tall, creating a lush green canopy.” The success story of Sri Vanam was celebrated with Radhakrishnan inaugurating the plant nursery in the presence of Rotarians and civic officials. “A feature of Sri Vanam nursery is that saplings were grown on coconut shells, which are environment-friendly, instead of polythene or plastic sachets,” she added.
Students from Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan College of Arts and Science, Annai Veilankanni Group of Institutions and Patrician College of Arts and Science were the unsung heroes of the event with their volunteer work ahead of the nursery launch. Presidents from RCs Chennai Meraki, Madras Connemara, Adyar, Madras T Nagar, Madras Nungambakkam, Meraki’s Annets and Rotaractors
were present at the venue to celebrate the event.