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Origin of TREE

A short history

TREE is the continuation of a movement formed in 2002 December. It came in to shape as a unity of the villagers(an extented neighbour hood co- operation), a chain of joined hands for some social causes.Many hectars of muck dumped land acquired for canal and its tunnel construction had been let as waste lands after the construction of canal (the canal is not fully commissioned yet) for more than a decade at that time. Those areas were converted into thickets and many antisocial elements like sex rackets, thieves etc. found their camps there. The canal and canal surroundings where turned to be waste dumping yards. The villagers were forced to unite to drive away this dark forces. They united with the support and initiative of Pandappilly National Library (est. 1947) volunteers and an independent citizens arts, sports and cultural team was organized and registered in the name ‘Nattuvettam – Gramasakyam.’(Direct translation of ‘Nattuvettam ‘ is country light. But it is an idiom for the little light left after the dusk for some time and also a shadow of sunlight just before the dawn. ‘Gramasakyam’ is neighbour hood unity of villagers for some common aims)

The first activity of the club was to clear the troublesome bushes and to drive away the antisocial elements.Both were achieved within a short time. The ‘vigilant wing’ of the team was appreciated for seizing some criminals and presenting then before the police and law. Some muck dumped areas were leveled and developed for volleyball and badminton courts. They were activated. A small hill formed by dumping the tunnel mucks had been landscaped little and planted there a group of basic Ayurvrdic great Trees from Ficus family ‘Nalpamara’ (country fig, ficustinctiria pi pal and Banayan) and named that hill ‘Nalpamarakkunnu’ (Nalpa. Tree hill). It was the humple starting of a ‘Peoples’ medicinal tree garden now spreading its greenery along M.C Road sides in Chanthyam junction and 3 kilometers long canal road sides up to and around Pandapilly village town. The first tree was planted by Mrs. Lilly Jacob a mother (widow) who live near by the hill, in memory of her beloved. The first seedling was ‘Great Banyan’.It was found on the top of the public water tank’s concreate wall in Fort Kochi and brought, it here as the 1st plant of the Garden. It is now about 30 feet tall and spreading branches with full of deep green leaves by which he beckoning birds to make home on him. The special trunk roots are hanging from the top of the tree down to the feet. Yes, the bird community has already found this ‘peoples medicinal tree garden’ and arriving with families to camp here.

A charitable wing ‘Nattuvettam–Karunya’ a sports club ‘Gramakeli’, a Tree club ‘Kattaruvi’ and a ‘Vigilance team’ were actively functioned under ‘Nattuvettam’ as its 4 wings. About 200 trees were grown at that period. The auspicious tree guarding ceremony and planting of 101 trees at the same moment on MC road sides were celebrated like a festival. The programmes had won a mass public and media support. Peoples representatives including Minister MLA etc. and representatives of various govt. departments,voluntary organizations etc participated in main programmes and supported the movement. Eventhough the strength of the people’s unity could accomplish many activitie’s its highlighted programme was the creating of Tree garden. Much importance was given to re-create, country- fruit forest trees etc. which are facing big threat of extinction now a days. Such trees and vegitations have no chance of existence after Kerala’s multi crop farms were turned to Rubber and other money crop plantations. So many road side shade trees and flower trees were also lost. The tree club had concentrated on the re-creation of such endangered country specices and selected the seedlinks in the basis of biodiversity.

Eventhough the formal functioning of ‘Nattuvettam’ almost come to an end the tree planting and growing it up were continued by some members. They were also Library members. The library had taken up the project therafter. Its women’s wing and children’s club joined in the venture

An environmental wing of The National Library was formed in 2008. Mr.Michel Beaulieu, a scientist of the Cananda Ministry of environment inaugurated the Tree Club by planting ‘Athy’ (country fig) as the first tree of ‘Nalpamara’ (Nalpa Tree) from the great ficus family. It was in the vision of creating another ‘Nalpamarakkunnu’ (Nalpa Tree hill) in that small hill on the surroundings of Pandappilly Market and canal aquaduct. A team of, environmental workers, including women and children from Cubeq City in Canada and Paris travelling with Michel, also planted the other trees for a Nalpa Tree hill which is now growing to be the new ‘lungs’ of the village town. The National Library tree club’s name is also NALPA TREE (National Library Pandappilly’s Team for Rural Ecological Equilibrium). It is almost 500 trees now growing up including 2 NalpaHills and spreading blooming branches of greenery and colours covering over 3 Kilometers road and canal sides of the village