Pratishthan volunteers plant 1600 trees in four hours

The Dr. Shri Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari Pratishthan event in Melbourne’s western suburbs planted over 1600 saplings within four hours.

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A tree plantation drive organised by the Melbourne branch of not-for-profit group Dr. Shri Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari Pratishthan successfully reforested the vital Cherry Lake Buffer zone in Altona on Saturday 24 June.

Organised in collaboration with Hobsons Bay Council, the tree plantation drive is a follow up to the group’s clean up drive held in March to mark the 100th birthday of their founder, Dr. Shri Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari.

People gather around a trestle table to register for the event.
Volunteers showed up bright and early to take part in the planting drive. (Source: Supplied)

Ninety-seven volunteers attended the drive, many of whom had travelled from interstate to be at the event. Alongside members of the Hobsons Bay community, they planted 1685 saplings, exceeding the 1250 saplings projected for the day.

Event organiser and Pratishthan volunteer Tanmay Kolhatkar says the day couldn’t have gone better despite the fickle Melbourne weather.

“We were expecting about 60 or 70 volunteers given the weather, but it was great to see everyone mustering at around 8:30am,” he says. “Everyone stayed till 1pm when we wrapped up the session, they didn’t lose interest either; it was great to see them come out in full force and make a 100% commitment.”

Volunteers gather for a photo next to the rangoli.
Almost 100 volunteers from across the country came to the event. (Source: Supplied)

The Cherry Lake Buffer is a series of dirt mounds separating the Cherry Lake wetlands from the surrounding residential and industrial area, designed to protect the waterways and native wildlife. The event aimed to promote environmental awareness and foster a greener and more collaborative community.

“The western side of Melbourne is not as densely vegetated as the east,” says Tanmay Kolhatkar. “This is our way of motivating the community to do their bit, because at the end of the day, we all want to stop global warming and have clean air.”

An area that has recently been vegetated, with lots of green plastic tree protectors.
The trees planted are vital for local ecology. (Source: Supplied)

Families and first-time tree planters were particularly enthusiastic participants, receiving training from Hobsons Bay conservation rangers.

Event organiser and Pratishthan volunteer Aniruddha Indurkar says the group are already planning follow-up events are to help maintain and monitor the trees that were planted.

Volunteers in high vis vests stand in a circle and listen to a park ranger.
Volunteers were briefed by Hobsons Bay conservation rangers. (Source: Supplied)

“We don’t just do tree-planting as a one-off event; you also have to monitor whether they’re growing properly and take care of it, so we plan to make it a cyclic, monthly event,” he says.

Founded in 1943, the Dr. Shri Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari Pratishthan are a not-for-profit organisation with branches across the world, who carry out charitable deeds as per the teachings of spiritual and social leader Dr. Shri Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari.

“We believe in ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’, and that’s why we’re trying to bring everyone together to create a sense of belonging in the community and encourage them to take ownership of what they can do for the community’s betterment,” Tanmay Kolhatkar says.

Volunteers stand for a photos, wearing yellow high vis vests.
Volunteers gathered from all across the community and Australia. (Source: Supplied)

The Pratishthan’s next event will be a blood donation drive on July 9, held at the Lifeblood Melbourne Donor Centre in the CBD, with a drive to be held in Sydney on the same day. Tanmay Kolhatkar encourages those interested to pre-register for the event.

“If you can, roll up your sleeve and be part of a good cause; the more people that come along for this event, the better.”

For more details on the Pratishthan tree plantation drive, the organisation, and its activities such as the upcoming blood donation drive, contact Tanmay Kolhatkar or Aniruddha Indurkar

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Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy is an emerging journalist and theatre-maker based in Melbourne.

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