Got Neem! MCCS distributes 514 Neem Saplings

Got Neem! MCCS distributes 514 Neem Saplings

“If a tree is saved even at the cost of one’s head, it’s worth it” said Environmental activist Amrita Devi Bishnoi.” As part of ‘Vanamahotsava’, Mount Carmel Central School-Mary Hill had organized a unique ‘MCCS Healthy Tree Contest’, where students were distributed Neem saplings, which they have take it home, plant them, nurture them and see that they grow healthy -and come April 2017 school management will visit the students homes and evaluate the growth and health of the tree and decide who are the winners. A record number of 514 students have entered this contest, which was a surprise for the Principal.

Mangaluru: Mount Carmel Central School-Mary Hill came out with a unique way to celebrate “Vanamahotsava” by organizing a “MCCS Healthy Tree Contest”, where students who signed up for this contest were given Neem saplings, which they had to take it home and plant it, water and nurture it and see that it grows healthy- and come April 2017 members of the school management will visit the students homes, evaluate the tree and judge who are the winners. This is indeed a unique way to encourage the students to create a bond with the Mother nature and in the same time save the environment. Go Green!

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The name “Vanamahotsava” means “the festival of trees”, which began in July 1947 after a flourishing tree planting drive was undertaken in Delhi, in which national leaders like Dr Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru participated. The festival was simultaneously celebrated in a number of states in India. Since then, thousands of saplings of diverse species are planted with energetic participation of the locals and various agencies like the forest department. The movement was initiated in the year 1950 by India’s Union Minister for Agriculture, Dr. K M Munshi as a crusade to save mother earth.

During this event millions of trees are planted with energetic participation of the locals and various agencies. It is annual and is to be celebrated during the month of July. Monsoon is there during July and is special month for trees and tree planting. The main objective of the festival is to inculcate tree consciousness and love of trees among the people, especially children and youth and popularize the planting and tending of trees in farms, villages, schools, municipal and public lands for their aesthetic, economic and protective needs.

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And to observe “Vanamahotsava”, the members of Eco-Club of Mount Carmel Central School (MCCS), the management and staff engaged themselves in tree planting at various spots around the campus along with the guests of honor of the day, following a formal programme which was held at the Mother Veronica Hall, MCCS-Mary Hill on Wednesday, 27 July 2017. It was an ideal opportunity to instill the value of personal and social responsibility in the students towards safeguarding trees and forests. The focus of the celebration was to form a personal connect between the students and trees through a process of experience, reflection and co-creation, carried out through various activities.The programme began by seeking almighty’s blessings on mother Earth that it is conserved by us humans, and they all prayed to God that humans may realize the grave mistake they’re committing in felling the trees.

Addressing the students, MCC Corporator Kavitha Sanil said, ” I am really overwhelmed the way the students through their skits brought awareness about tree planting and green environment. Skits, talks and other programmes will surely help in creating a healthy green and safe environment in the city. Now that our City has been graded as the the third best City in the nation, it our duty to keep it still cleaner and bag the first place come February 2017 when the selection committee makes a decision. With hard work and dedication like teachers and students like you we can achieve that goal. This is a good step taken by all you students to bring awareness about tree planting and green environment”

“Due to the celebration of this festival in the month of July which is also the onset of the monsoon season, planting trees proves to be beneficial. Planting of trees also serves other purposes like providing alternative fuel options, food for cattle, helps in soil conservation and more than anything offers a natural aesthetic beauty. Planting of trees also helps to avoid soil erosion which may cause floods. Also, planting trees can be extremely effective in slowing down global warming and trees also help in reducing pollution as they make the air cleaner. Each of you should plant a tree in your house compound or a plant in a pot, if you live in a apartment. MCC will surely join hand with you all in projects like these aimed at the greenery and safe environment of the city” added Sanil.

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Chief guest P Shridhar-Forest Range Officer in his elaborate speech said, ” We all know that due to infrastructure lots of trees are axed down and so the greenery is lost. The festival educates the awareness of trees among people and portrays the need of planting and tending of trees, as trees are one of the best ways to prevent global warming and reduce pollution-it is celebrated as a festival of life. In India it was started as a crusade to save mother earth. It is expected that every citizen of India has to plant a sapling in the Vanamahotsava week/month. It helps spread awareness amongst people about the harm caused by the cutting down of trees. 3,000 saplings would be planted in the jurisdiction of the corporation this monsoon. Preference would be given for planting renja, nerale, kakke, holey dasavala and ashoka varieties. 13,000 saplings would be planted on a 40-acre land on the premises of ONGC-MRPL here.”

He further said, “Forest Department would plant 12,000 saplings on rural roads and highways under Mangaluru forest range, including many national highways.Thus in all, the Forest Department would plant 28,000 saplings on its own. Its details would be photographed, data maintained and linked to the government website— egreenwatch.nic.in— for post-planting observation. Apart from this, 45,000 saplings are available with nurseries under the range for distributing it to people. It included saplings of different varieties. People could purchase the saplings from the nursery at Padil. The cost of each sapling varied from Rs. 1 to Rs. 3. The government has decided to plant nearly 8 crore saplings through out the state this year.”

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” If people plant the saplings under the “Krishi Aranya Protsaha Yojane,” then each would get an incentive of Rs. 10 per sapling in the first year of planting. In the second year, he or she would get an incentive of Rs. 15 and in the third year Rs. 20 per sapling towards maintenance. So children make sure you plant at least one tree at your residence. The ‘Vanamahotsava’ festival of trees is a beautiful initiative to save the environment, to which we owe a lot. Generally, native trees are planted as they readily adapted to the local conditions, integrate into eco-systems and have a high survival rate. Besides, such trees are helpful in supporting local birds, insects and animals as well” added Shridhar.

Principal Sr Melissa AC advising the students said, ” Growing trees is good for environment-we can breathe clean air. We are taking all steps to augment the green cover. My compliments to the Eco-Club members and all those who were responsible for taking up the initiative in observing “Vanamahotsava”. The constant felling of trees has been a problem for a long time now and as a result of that it is extremely important for us to create awareness for the same. And everyone must try and actively involve themselves in this practice as well. For every tree felled, ten trees should be planted to regain the loss of one. The survival of plants and animals is also put in danger as each and every time a tree is felled or a forest is uprooted. Vanamahotsava is thus a widely celebrated festival and should be celebrated as more than a day of planting trees and celebrated as any other festival. Healthy Tree Contest is a great initiative to encourage you all to show love towards the nature and environment. I request you all to at least plant a flower/fruit plant in your house/apartment to save the environment. Let’s all Go Green!”

Guest of honor, Krishnappa K, a environmentalist who resides in Mangaluru, and a active volunteer involved in various awareness projects connected with environment and tree/sapling planting encouraged the children to plant trees, and he also recited few slogans pertaining to environment, and also made the children to take a oath that they would love mother nature and take good care of the trees, which was enthusiastically repeated by all the students. Sr Carissima AC- Correspondent, MCCS, and Sr Snehal-Vice Principal of MCCS also graced the occasion. The Eco Club students began the programme by invoking the blessings of God. Ashel Sequeira of Class X, the President of Eco Club welcomed the gathering. The Students of Eco Club brought out the significance of Vanamahotsava beautifully with the help of Power Point Presentation, display of placards and banners. The message of “Save the Trees” was reiterated through a Cultural Programme consisting of dance, song and a skit.

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The members of the Eco Club presented a skit generating awareness of the need to conserve trees. They depicted a contrast as to how the Mother Earth looked a few years back to how it is now. The President of the Eco Club, Ms. Sneha A. S. highlighted the significance of the day. She urged her peers to join hands for this noble cause and help in our little way in curbing the destruction of this planet. Students of classes VI – VIII presented a drama through which they portrayed the ‘feelings of the trees’ which are cut down for human’s selfish needs. Students also tapped their feet to ‘Jaya Hai Kaanada Taye’ and entertained the audience.

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A plantation drive within the MCCS premises was led by the school management along with Sridhar, Krishnappa and the students. Two saplings were then planted in the school grounds as they promised to spread the message of green cover amongst their friends and families. Around 514 students who registered for the “Best and Healthy Tree” Contest were given a NEEM sapling, which they will plant in their homes. The students have carried home this treasure with great enthusiasm as there was great support from the parents. This contest will be assessed by the school authorities in April 2017 and winners will be awarded with attractive prizes. The programme was compered by Glen Sequeira of class IX and Faye Rodrigues of class VI. Ravijna R of class X welcomed the gathering and Vote of thanks was given by Aniketh Shetty of class X.

About Neem Tree and its Uses :

The NEEM tree (Azadirachta indica) is a tropical evergreen tree native to India and is also found in other southeast countries. In India, neem is known as “the village pharmacy” or “the Miracle Tree” because of its healing versatility, and it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years due to its medicinal properties. Neem is also called ‘arista’ in Sanskrit- a word that means ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds with proven antiseptic, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antifungal uses. The Sanskrit name ‘nimba’ comes from the term ‘nimbati syasthyamdadati’ which means ‘to give good health’.

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The earliest documentation of neem mentioned the fruit, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark for their advantageous medicinal properties. These benefits are listed in the ancient documents ‘Carak- Samhita’ and ‘Susruta-Samhita’, the books at the foundation of the Indian system of natural treatment, Ayurveda. Neem has a garlic-like odor, and a bitter taste. The various parts of this tree have many uses that aptly give neem its name in Sanskrit-“sarva roga nivarini”, meaning ‘the curer of all ailments’. Some of the most important documented uses of various parts of the neem tree are:

Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and has insecticidal and medicinal properties due to which it has been used for thousands of years in pest control, cosmetics, medicines, etc. Neem seed cake (residue of neem seeds after oil extraction) when used for soil amendment or added to soil, not only enriches the soil with organic matter but also lowers nitrogen losses by inhibiting nitrification. It also works as a nematicide; Neem leaves are used to treat chickenpox and warts by directly applying to the skin in a paste form or by bathing in water with neem leaves. In order to increase immunity of the body, neem leaves are also taken internally in the form of neem capsules or made into a tea. The tea is traditionally taken internally to reduce fever caused by malaria. This tea is extremely bitter. It is also used to soak feet for treating various foot fungi. It has also been reported to work against termites.

In Ayurveda, neem leaves are used in curing neuromuscular pains. Neem leaves are also used in storage of grains. Twigs of neem are also used in India and Africa as toothbrushes. Nowadays toothpastes with neem extracts are also available commercially. Neem (leaf and seed) extracts have been found to be spermicidal and thus research is being conducted to use neem extracts for making contraceptives. Neem produces pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and fever reducing compounds that can aid in the healing of cuts, burns, earaches, sprains and headaches, as well as fevers.

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Neem bark and roots also have medicinal properties. Bark and roots in powdered form are also used to control fleas & ticks on pets. Neem has anti-bacterial properties that help in fighting against skin infections such as acne, psoriasis, scabies, eczema, etc. Neem extracts also help in treating diabetes, AIDS, cancer, heart disease, herpes, allergies, ulcers, hepatitis and several other diseases. Neem oil, leaves and neem extracts are used to manufacture health and beauty care products. Some of such products are soaps, bath powders, shampoos, lotions and creams, toothpastes, neem leaf capsules to increase immunity and as a skin purifier, insect repellents, pet care products, etc. In India, people who are affected with pox viruses are generally made to lie in bed made of neem leaves and branches. This prevents the spreading of pox virus to others and has been in practice since early centuries.

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