Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The IBM Centennial Grant to "Save Ecosystem Project" from Green Hills Group

 It gives me pleasure to inform that the Centennial Service Effort that we at IBM were driving in Pune in collaboration with Green Hills Group has received a "Team Community Grant" last week. This grant is given as part of the IBM Centennial Initiative to organizations where more than 50 IBMers serve to contribute more than 200 Hours of service hours and make a measurable impact to the societal need. During the month of June-July-August, more than 70 IBMers participated the tree plantation and nurturing drives with their colleagues, friends and families on weekends. They planted more than 250+ saplings and worked on several other nurturing initiatives on the hilltop near MIT/ARAI in Pune. This grant will help the NGO to effectively run "Save Ecosystem" project where the group is trying to nurture naturally growing native trees on this hilltop spanning 200 Hectares and IBMers along with several other corporates in Pune will continue to contribute efforts round the year.

Thanks to all those IBMers who actively participated and made this happen. The key challenge is to get them come and contribute to the effort during rest of the year .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gliricidia : Friend Or Foe

On one of the Saturdays a couple of weeks ago, when 20-25 volunteers from DIYA Foundation and Gayatri Pariwar had joined hands to plant the saplings, I bumped into a student - Gaurav Dube from Bio-tecnology department of University Of Pune. He expressed interest in Green Hills Group activities and during the course of discussions, I expressed to him our intent to run a project in collboration with an academic institution around understanding the impact of the prolification of Gliricidia on acres and acres of land on the ARAI / Vetal Tekdi (Hilltop). I expressed the problem statement in following words over an email that I sent later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monsoon Mania : Tree plantation drives in this season

During 2011 season - June to August following organizations joined hands in planting trees on the Hilltop on Saturdays.
  • DIYA Foundation & Gayathri Parivar
  • Mahindra Engineering (gave monetary help)
  • Devdhar Classes (gave monetary help)
  • IBM India (expecting to receive a community grant)
  • JSPM's Rajarshi Shahu College of Engineering
Close to 500 new saplings were planted of following variety
  • Karvanda, Amba (Mango), Moha, Umber, Neem, Behda, Awla, Kadamba, Arjun, Tetu, Bel
Volunteers were involved not only in planting new trees but also in removing grass around the trees and putting manure to the trees planted in 2010. They also managed to disperse seeds and witness sprouting of different varieties like "Palas". As a matter of fact, "Plas" was growing at so man places that, we migrated a few small saplings to distant places as having them all grow in small vicinity would not have been possible..

Thursday, June 16, 2011

IBM Centennial : Celebration Of Service

IBM is celebrating its centennial in 2011.. 100 years.. The company has come and long way.. in true sense has been reinventing itself over last 10 decades and serving mankind with several disruptive innovations.. One can read more about it on the IBM websites..

The most interesting expression of centennial is "Celebration of Service" where IBMers worldwide are encouraged to go and work with society, goverments, NGOs, communities... The employees are being encouraged to "pledge" service hours and spend them towards serving the society. Apparently the motive is to have employees engaged with the society and for humanitarian causes.Have them spread the message, build the IBM brand and most importantly have the skills of IBMers to support societal causes.

I started pushing the word about Green Hills Group across within IBM late last year, however it got the momentum when the centennial messages started going out. I kick started coordinating efforts of getting IBMers to come to the MIT Hill begining the weekend of 4th/5th June... Since then there have been 4 events and during each event had around 4-5 IBMers coming and contributing for the cause... Some of them commuted long distances and reached early mornings in rains, getting thier feet and hands dirty to plan trees.

Since last two weekends (4th,5th, 12th June) following IBMers visited MIT/ARAI Hilltop and helped plant trees and other conservation activities.

Weekend of 4th and 5th June
Manas R Senapati Chhatrapal K Dhapekar, Vipul Wani, Surjit K Patel, Abhijit A Badwe, Kamalesh Harinkhede, Ajit J Tawde, Bhushan V Dekate, Amit Singh. The activities done by them was of planting of 100+ new saplings on the hilltop.

On 12th June following IBMers joined the event Girish N Meher, Prabhat Pachpore, Ajit J Tawde, (made it SECOND TIME). The activities done was of planting of 10+ new saplings on the hilltop and laying of stones and dig trenches to allow water retention along the slopes.

Several other IBMers have signed up for coming over following weekends and enquiries about the event have been pouring in heavily. Here's the mail I typically send to all prior to the event..

Dear ODC Members,

The activity this weekend (Saturday 18th June and/or Sunday 19th June) would be
  • Planting new saplings along trenches / make new trenches.
  • Laying a stone pathway for access during monsoons
Here are the details of the weekend programme.
Date : Saturday, June 11th and Sunday, June 12th
Time : 7:30 AM onwards (expect to spend 3-4 hours)
Venue : Hilltop Behind MIT College (Check "How to reach ?" section at the bottom of this email)
Contact Person : Mahesh S Paradkar ( / 9860049757)

Tips / Suggestions :
  • Please come in (preferably old) sports/canvas shoes, caps, sunglasses, umbrella/wind-sheeters and be ready to work hard, get your hands and feet dirty.
  • If it is raining very heavily, kindly call me to confirm if the activity is happening - before you start
  • You are welcome to bring guests
  • The activities typically go on until 11:00 AM, it is upto you as to how early you want to come and how long you want to stay

Kindly Confirm your participation by clicking on the buttons below
OR on Facebook ODC Community page!/event.php?eid=203085076403179

How to Reach
  • From the Garware Flyover at Deccan, get on to your right on to Karve Road
  • After the "Nal Stop" Signal, keep Right and head on to the Paud Road Flyover
  • After crossing the Flyover, go pass the ARAI circle and head on to the "One Way"  on Paud Road (Landmarks around include, PN Gadgil, Joshi Sweets, Reliance Fresh)
  • Take a U-turn at the junction (Signal) where the one way ends and take an immediate left which leads to MIT College
  • On the MIT College Road, after reaching the premises, you will find a globular structure of "Earth" at one of the crossways - take a left here and continue moving on this road to find stone footsteps to your left.
  • Climb all the footsteps to reach the Hilltop - crossover the steps and head to the platue where you will find trees planted by Green Hills Group.

Thanks for volunteering to be part of this initiative.   To know about the Green Hills Group Initiative, please glance through the attached presentation OR call me on mobile (9860049757)

cheers, Mahesh

Mahesh Paradkar,
IBM India Software Labs - Pune, mobile: +919860049757,
Blogs  :   Impulse   :    Greener Pune 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

last two weeks : identifying the natives and seed collection

Thanks to Ms. Nandinidevi Pantapratinidhi an ardent environmentalist who has been visiting the project, many of us working on the project have been able to identify the naturally growing species on the ARAI / MIT / Mhatoba hilltop. We drove and walked in the 1-1.5 km forest patch and spotted several naturally growing native species of trees. They include -

  1. Moha (popularly known for its use to prepare liquor)
  2. Dhavad
  3. Son Savar
  4. Bibba
  5. Gunj (the red seeds)
  6. Chandan (sandal wood)
  7. Fetra
  8. Neem
  9. Phanshi
  10. Beeja
  11. Ain
  12. Ghat Bor
  13. Karvanda
  14. Nana
  15. Bondara
  16. Palas (three leaves, commonly used to make disposable plates -patravali)
  17. Charoli (the nut that is commonly added to sweets like basundi and shreekhand)
some images while collecting the seeds and the seeds/trees themselves
Chaaroli Seeds

Charoli tree  

Son Savar seeds - Mhatari

Son Savar : Flowering and seed dispersal

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It rained heavily today and it is a great news for all of us and it filled my heart for a moment.. The rains and this moist air will support the plants for a week at least - may be more.. It is also very pleasant- perfect climate for a walk on the hill OR for some lazy people like me - sipping a cup of hot tea and enjoy some onion bajias... while reading the load of Sunday newspapers..

Today took the kids out on the hilltop, made them climb pass thickets and thorns, also made them climb down a steep rocky patch behind my society, Sigma One. Here are some pictures.. uploaded to facebook.

Since last 3 weeks, girls from Cummins Engineering College have been on the "Survey" project. They helped in counting/identifying the trees, empty spots along and off the drip lines. The report will be published in next couple of weeks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Volunteers from Cummins Engineering College join hands

One of my student from IBM Remote Mentoring Project leads the environment cell at Cummins college. She got interested in the blog (which appear in my mail signatures) and called me last week to understand more about the work we do on the MIT/ARAI Hills. After briefing on phone, she and three other friends from cummins visited the hills and helped plant a few saplings. They plan to carry out a couple of small projects (from my list of activities published this blog) to help the cause.