Mysuru: A nature walk programme was organised at Kukkarahalli Lake premises by YHAI (Youth Hostels Association of India), Gangothri Unit, in city this morning with the objective of ‘Vriksh Parichaya’ (Tree Appraisal). Dr. Mahadeswara Swamy, Scientist and SOM columnist (Tree Facts), was the resource person for the event.
He conducted the walk ‘Namma Nadige Maragala Kadege.’ At about 7 am, the participants gathered near the entrance gate of Kukkarahalli Lake, opposite the railway crossing. The interactive walk session comprised people of various age groups.
Dr. Mahadeswara introduced the participants to various species of trees present in the Lake premises. Over 20-30 people participated in this walk. The objective was to help people know about the trees, how to identify them and study their patterns and realise its importance in the ecosystem.
Speaking to SOM, Dr. Mahadeswara said, “This walk is for any common man and I would not be using taxonomical names and technical details; but instead I will be concentrating on their local names, and their uses, and how to identify them. Kukkarahalli Lake is the lungs of our prestigious Mysuru City. It is a biodiversity hotspot and it is surprising that there are more than 70 different species of trees here. I used to do several events like this related to plants and trees during my stay in Madras. Being a lifetime member of Madras Naturalist Society, I have been an integral part of plant identification and their studies. People tend to realise the value of a tree only when it is available in scarce. Even here some plants are neglected and needs to be taken care of.”
Walking along the picturesque Lake, he identified that a plant called ‘Senna Spectabilis’ was growing everywhere at the premises which was not suitable for the growth of other trees. He said, “Senna Spectabilis makes it difficult for other plants to grow and the authorities need to physically remove it, so that other trees are not destroyed. Known for its quick growth, this alien invasive plant is a major threat to the other exotic species present here. No tree or even grass can grow under its thick and wild canopy.”
“Banyan tree is the national tree of our country and it is a native of Bengal. This is the biggest tree in terms of space occupancy. This tree supports various life forms like insects, birds, small animals, bacteria etc. Thus it is called as the Keystone species for its rich biodiversity. The biggest banyan tree is in Andhra Pradesh which occupies about 5 acres of space. The jackfruit tree is the sacred tree as its twigs are used in Hawan Kunds (Fire Ceremonies) especially in Kerala. Just by rubbing the twigs, the fire is generated. Its leaves are used to make Kadabus; their wood is used to make furniture and also musical instruments. Its fruit is a fleshy perianth. Each tree has its own value and medicinal properties which people should understand,” adds Dr. Mahadeswara.
Walking along the path of the Lake, the group managed to identify about almost 40 different species of trees.
He described the trees, their identification patterns, the fruits they bear, their kernels, flowers, etc. He showed the participants Arjuna Tree, Chinese Fountain Tree, Tamarind Tree, Eucalyptus plant, Neem Tree, Canon Ball Tree, Shisham tree, etc.
Suresh, a Senior Assistant at University of Mysore, said, “I loved the walk and am delighted to learn about the trees. We used to walk here regularly but basic knowledge about the plant’s identity was lacking and Dr. Mahadeswara has patiently explained about the trees here. Their medicinal properties can improvise our living conditions. I’m looking forward for such kind of programmes in the future and will definitely be a part of it.”
Ruparaja, a lecturer from a B.Ed College in Mysuru, said, “My kids showed interest in this programme and I tagged along with them. The session was very informative and we enjoyed it a lot. This was useful for my kids too, as the new generation should also realise the value of the plants and biodiversity.”
Dr. Mahadeswara was delighted with the response he received for this walk and added that he mainly wants to create awareness among the people. He said that only if people realise about the value of a tree, they will plant it near their surroundings and take good care of them.
YHAI Gangothri Unit Secretary Parashivamurthy and Members Dr. Rama, Dr. Nagendra Prasad, Dr. Lingappa, Dr. Raju & Ashvak Nagrajan were present.
The two-hour walk was a practical exposure for the participants where in they received expertise information from Dr. Mahadeswara, who took time and ensured that the doubts of every single person was taken care of and they received satisfactory answers.
With an in depth knowledge and a passion to protect the ecosystem at Kukkarahalli Lake, Dr. Mahadeswara is dedicated to spread awareness amongst people and strives hard to protect this Lake, which he regards to be as the Lungs of Mysuru city.