Within two months of mass blood donation at the district level on a single day when 3,000-plus units of blood were donated, 127 clubs of D 3000 embarked on its second Navaratna Project, planting over 30,000 saplings in just three hours on August 12. There was a mix in the planting — seeds, saplings, seed balls, etc, and to ensure that the saplings grow into trees, protection was provided with wire mesh. Watering the saplings has also been organised. This public image project was done in the presence of the District Forest Officer, other administrative representatives and police personnel. DG P Gopalakrishnan and First Lady G Neelavathi, other Rotarians and volunteers from schools, colleges and NGOs participated.
In addition, door-to-door distribution of saplings to be planted in the backyards of homes in an effort to green the entire region was also carried out. The rain gods ensuring timely rain was an added bonus!
As DGE, Gopalakrishnan had designed nine public image enhancing community service activities titled Navaratna focusing on health, hygiene, environment, education and empowerment. One of these nine projects is preservation of nature, and the various clubs did the tree planting activity simultaneously in various places—villages, towns, schools, colleges, universities, government offices, temples and even the Central Prison at Trichy. District officers moved across the District to encourage clubs to carry out this activity. Regional Coordinators, Assistant Governors, GEMS Navaratna Special Project Director Baskaran and his team worked hard to give realisation to the dream of RI President Ian Riseley that 1.2 million trees should be planted in 2017–18. The project does not stop with planting the saplings but growing them through regular supervision and a follow-up survey will be done in June 2018 to assess how many of the 30,000 saplings survive the odds and bloom into trees, said Gopalakrishnan.
“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people,” said Confucius, the Chinese philosopher. D 3000 has thought for 100 years ahead by educating people to grow trees and provide a green cover to the earth.