76-year-old Friend of Trees from Uttarakhand

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The controversy around Aarey colony and the construction of metro car shed in Mumbai has not died down yet. The authorities have already chopped 2,134 trees out of the targeted 2,600 trees. The tree lovers were really upset. While supporting the development, only few can fathom the hardship of planting and fostering a tree.

But, Prabha Devi, 76-year-old lady from a remote village of Uttarakhand will be the best person to tell us about the importance of planting the tree. She made
recently headlines after the local newspapers flashed her story.

The amazing story is that she has already planted over 500 trees in her village, Parashat, in the district of Rudraprayag. The village has now a forest, entirely planted by this old lady.

She walks to the forest every day and spends time working there. And the best result she gets is the happiness of seeing the trees and the birds chirping happily.
She is called by her neighbours as the friend of the tree and she enjoys it too.

She got married at the age of 16 and never went to a school, but learnt a lot about saving the earth by planting the trees with creating headlines, all by herself and
with her own the experience. She has not listened to long lectures or done research, but she knows how to take care of the trees.

“There was a steep increase in deforestation activities in and around our village. People want to construct new buildings or resorts after chopping trees, and the
entire ecosystem of forests was getting disturbed. I felt sad to see the forests being mercilessly cut down for fulfilling the materialistic needs of humans,” she
was quoted saying in the media.

Her husband was a farmer and a cattle-herder. Like many other women in the village, she had to look for grass for the cows and sheeps in the wilderness. When
wild grass started getting over, she decided to plant fodder grass. Thus a hobby too sprouted in her. She would have never thought that her hobby would
transform a patch of barren land into a forest.

She used the small piece of land which her family did not use for agriculture. She started planting the trees and now it is dense forest. She knows the soil well and
the issue of groundwater depletion in the hilly areas. So, she opted for local trees like `Baanj’ which can improve the water level.

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